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We'll Never Get Started

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Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.

- Victor Hugo

Darcy Lewis wasn't the sort to die for six college credits any more than she was the sort to live in abject poverty to cover her student loans.

Probably she was spending too much time in the realm of masked superheroes, and while she wasn't aiming for their lofty accomplishments, she thought it was pretty damn heroic to be able to pay her rent on time. Unpaid interns didn't get to be picky and, last she checked, there was only really one obvious avenue for revenue that suited both her need to free up her days and the fact that her most marketable skills involved Flappy Bird.

She had a certain niche appeal, she got that. A lot of dudes seemed to go through that whole Mad Men phase, they wanted top shelf liquor, questionable suits and curvy gals. If anyone could give Christina Hendricks a run for her money, it was Darcy. It wasn't like the stripping was hard. For a few minutes at a time she got to take herself out of who she was, to be smooth and polished and desirable. Then the night ended, the fake eyelashes came off, the bulky sweaters went back on and everyone went home. No harm, no foul.

Well, obvious some guys went home with lighter wallets. But that was kind of the point. It was a mutually satisfying arrangement that didn't require Darcy to do any, y'know, actual satisfying.

Not that it wasn't hard work at times, it really was the kind of job where you only earned well if you put in the effort. Darcy was facing the back end of her shift, working the room, enticing men into paying for private (and much more costly) dances... and she'd done it all in heels. Ugh.

Darcy propped her butt against a vanity in the back room and brushed a little errant glitter from her cleavage. She didn't go in for the whole tacky shtick, glitter and perspex platforms were out (like she could balance on them anyway), she tried to go for the more subtle touches. Well placed-shimmer to draw the eye, outfits reminiscent of pin-ups. It was her thing and she stuck to it.

Her shift was nearly over and, generally speaking, they were flexible anyway. As long as there were enough girls to cover all the bases, Darcy could leave or stay as she pleased. Most often she chose to stay and extend her shift (and earnings), but she wasn't totally digging it that night. She arrived at work just as the Avengers had hit the late new, assembling to face the latest and greatest threat to humanity. As battles went, it was a bit of a fizzer, the threat had been exaggerated and the whole thing had been cleared up in two hours. But that had been a whole two hours spent madly dashing from dance to dance and then stealing minutes to dart into the break room to check the news feeds on her phone and join the shifting huddle around the small TV.

Thor had been a no-show again and Darcy was already mentally plotting her way home via Jane's with a pint of Phish Food. The rest of them seemed to have come out of the fracas unscathed and - most likely for shits and giggles - the new one (Bucky?) had added himself to the Avenger's lineup. She'd met him maybe twice at the lab where Jane worked. He sort of just moved around behind Steve like a living breathing shadow. She wasn't sure yet if she'd decided that the guy was a giant broody douche or about to get top billing for some of her future masturbatory fantasies. He was that kind of guy - equally compelling and attractive. Hot as fuck, but also kind of a dick.

It was confusing.

Darcy moaned a little as she lifted her foot to toe off her peeptoe heel.

"Uh uh!" Cass, the manager cum bartender, sashayed up to her all leather and wild red hair. "Got a special for you."

Darcy's eyebrow kicked up.

"Twofer," Cass elaborated, "Came in all quiet like. They want a girl."

Darcy kicked her other shoe off. "So give them one, just not me."

"Said he wants a surprise for his friend, wants something 'old fashioned with real tits'. That's you, kiddo."

Darcy groaned and stepped back into her heels.

"If it helps, they're easy on the eye."

"It doesn't."

"They're also cashed up."

"That helps." Darcy turned to run a critical eye over herself in the mirror. She reached into the red lace cups of her bra and plumped her breasts so that her areolae played peekaboo as she shifted. The matching panties were modestly cut in comparison to some around the club, but then Darcy had been known to lose them for her private performances. Most of the girls did. Her waist nipped in with the help of a deep blue cincher, delicate crystals had been worked into the silk and they shimmered as she moved, catching the light in the club. It was, when coupled with her pale skin, a rather patriotic ensemble. She wondered if maybe her mind hadn't been elsewhere - maybe still watching the Cap get slammed into the sidewalk by some weird Kaiju creep? - when she'd dressed.

She quickly refreshed her lipstick and smacked her lips together for good measure. Her eyes slid to the blue domino that hung from the corner of the mirror and she snagged it with a shrug. If she was going to play at being a hero (even just her own hero), she might as well wear the mask...

~*~

Steve was on the edge of his comfort zone. Possibly the stratosphere of his comfort zone. Genetically modified neo-Nazi footmen? Dormant Cold-War terrorist cells? Those were the epicentre of what he was about.

But the waitress pressing her large and oddly firm breasts against his shoulder as she served their drinks was setting him on edge. So was the small unfamiliar room. It's not what he'd imagined, the long chesterfield lounge and small mahogany side table seemed at odds with the fact that he was in a club that was... well, a little blue for his usual tastes. The sofa faced a small raised dais and thick red velvet curtains hid a simple door, one of two that provided access to the room.

Steve turned to Bucky, spine stiff as he sat on the far end of the sofa. "This isn't-"

"Steve. No one saw us come in."

"Still ain't right."

"You said you'd give me an hour. You ain't completely off dames, are ya?" Bucky slid along the leather until their thighs bumped.

Steve was... well, shit. He wasn't off women. Neither of them were. But they were't denying the shift between them, not anymore. He couldn't. He'd lost too much, too many people. Now he had Bucky back - a little broken and tarnished as Hell - and he'd be damned if he let a single person tell him that there was a right amount of love, a specific amount of touch and comfort that he could offer. He wouldn't limit or reel in his love for Bucky... but that didn't mean they both didn't need or want...

Something else.

"Don't you trust me?" Bucky held out a short glass of whiskey. Steve took it, for the taste if nothing else.

"It's just..." Steve waved around the dimly lit room.

"Classiest place in the city, great girls and well, I just think what we're after is here." Bucky's prosthetic hand dropped to Steve's knee and gently flexed against his thigh. The lights dipped and music, too loud for comfortable conversation but not ridiculously so, filled the room.

She stepped onto the stage, pale skin glowing in the small fixed spotlight. Her hips gently swayed while her deep red lips offered up a bland, generic coquettish sort of smile.

He'd been an idiot not to trust Bucky.

~*~

Darcy tried to cover a wince as she stepped into the spotlight, the damn thing always blinded her and there was nothing attractive about a squinty stripper. She covered by passing her hands coyly over her face and dropped her hips into a low roll as a dirty, croon-y cover of Doris Day's 'Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps' filled the small room.

This was the easy part, she couldn't seem them - didn't need to. It was a simple matter of moving, showing them all the parts of herself that she'd fought to learn to love. Touching herself in all the places they couldn't. It wasn't called a striptease for nothing.

She curled herself around the pole and slowly moved through some of the old standards, her eyes drifted shut as she listened to the music, humming vaguely off-key and entertaining fantasies of what she was going to eat when she got home. Bending at the waist, she widened her stance and wiggled her hips. The music made it impossible to hear anything, but she'd done this enough times to know what worked and what didn't. She turned her back on them and reached back to unfasten her bra, it slipped down her arms and she removed it, snagging one end between her fingertips and swirling it for a few moments before dropping it over the edge of the stage.

She turned around, arms lifting to lace her fingers into her loosely curled hair, the pose displayed her breasts in the best possible way. Her eyes had started to adjust to the light and she could make out the shapes on the sofa. They sat close, but weren't touching. The dark figure to the right sat forward, elbows propped against his knees, a tumbler dangling loosely from the fingers of one hand while the other kept passing shakily across his mouth. The other shape seemed completely at ease, reclined casually with his arms open along the back of the sofa. His knees were wide and he seemed split between watching her and his friend.

Darcy dropped her hands to cup and knead her breasts, plucking at her nipples. After a few seconds she dropped her hands to the busk of her waist cincher, pressing and releasing it before she unwound the garment and discarded it. This was the longest part of the dance, the stage where she touched herself and moved to the music, bra gone but her panties still in place. Sure, the panties would go, but that was always saved for the last few seconds. So that she was fully naked long enough for them to feel like they got their money's worth, but not so long that she felt uncomfortable.

The first song bled into the next, San Cisco's version of 'Get Lucky', and she moved to the slightly more lively beat, shaking her arse while she sucked two fingers into her mouth, wetting them then drawing them down over one nipple and leaving it slick and shiny. Even over the music she heard the groan. She smiled and peered a little more closely into the dark.

They were built, she'd give them that. Suited up nicely, but that was hardly a surprise given that the club had a pretty strict dress-code. One with lighter hair and the other with longish black-

Darcy stumbled on her heels and nearly fell arse-first from the stage.

Fucking fuck.

What to do... act normal? Fake a seizure? Pretend to be an illegal immigrant who only spoke Latvian?

She barely managed to recover her routine, letting muscle memory push her through the motions of running her hands over her hips, tucking her thumbs into her panties and slipping them low... but not too low. If she stopped now, things would get weird. (Because they weren't already?)

If they knew it was her... well, they were still watching weren't they? They wanted a show. If they didn't know? Darcy figured it couldn't hurt to give them something other than her masked features to focus on. She turned again and bent at the hips, slowly easing her panties over her bottom and down to her thighs. She spread her feet a little and reached between her legs to pet at her bare pussy, both drawing their gaze and obscuring the view. She drew her index finger between her smooth lips and gasped as she felt an unexpected tingle in response. Darcy made it a rule never to get off on what she did for work and, for the most part, it was a pretty easy principle to stick to. Exhibitionism had never been her thing, not really. Any excitement usually looped back to a generalised feeling of power over her viewers, not anything especially sexual.

But there she was, the first hint of arousal between her legs and heat rolling between her shoulders.

It was, she admitted sadly, a shitty turn of events. The one place that she didn't feel like herself, the one place she was totally on-fucking-top... and now they were there. Watching, with their stupid chiseled faces and super-human physiques. She wanted to hurl her heel at Tall-Dark-Andabitofadick's ridiculous, perfect, face and tell Steve that he had weird shaped ears (which he didn't, but she wasn't above lying to drag him back down to her level).

She bit her lip to hold in her cry of frustration as she dropped to her knees, parting them just enough, and leaned forward on the palms of her hands. Even Steve's offsider sat forward when she did that, his eyes tracking the sway of her breasts. Darcy rolled onto her back and bent her knees, toes pointed toward her bottom as she made an exaggerated show of playing between her legs. Not that they could see with her 'business end' faced away, but men were such suggestible creatures. They believed what they wanted.

Darcy could hear the track winding down, getting ready to lace into the final stage of the Platinum package that they'd sprung for. Audience participation was, in Darcy's experience, a bit hit and miss. Some were great guys who'd had a shitty day, some were shitty guys looking to ruin her day. She knew which one the Cap was, but Bucky...

Still, her luck had held out so far, she was fairly certain that her cover hadn't been blown, at least not as far as Steve was concerned. Even though he'd made several admirable attempts to look at her face, he just wasn't that good at hiding what he wanted. And since Steve had paid for the right, Darcy wasn't going to get all morally indignant. They wanted to look? She scooted to the edge of the stage and dropped to her feet.

Let 'em look.

It was slow going trying to draw out her approach in the small space, but she did her best, swinging her hips as she walked, sucking two fingers into her mouth... She paused when she got to them, watched as Bucky boldly slid his hand over Steve's thigh and up to the bulge behind his fly.

Bucky jerked his head toward Steve, "My friend here needs a little... hospitality."

Darcy shrugged, as if it were all the same to her, then remembered that she was trying for something significantly more sexy than her usual quirks. She planted a foot either side of Steve's and speared her fingertips into his hair. He smelled of citrus and leather. Possibly also the tears of a thousand fucking bald eagles. Not that she knew what that would smell like, but if she had to hazard a guess...

The rules for touching at a strip club were ostensibly pretty simple: don't.

Of course, there was always a little wiggle room. As long as the punters seemed happy she was fine to touch them and guide their hands, but that was the outside limit. Cameras covered all the rooms and the security guys knew what was normal and what wasn't. She drew Steve's face forward and treated him to a sort of subdued motorboat. Part of her expected him to push her away, to say something that included the words 'shucks' and 'Ma'am'.

When neither of those things happened, she dropped her knees to the sofa and straddled his lap, rubbing herself agains the thick erection pressing at his khaki trousers.

Darcy wasn't sure who out of the three of them was more surprised when she moaned low in her throat. Steve's hands hovered over her hips and she reached back to press them down, relishing the way even her arse and hips seemed petite in his hands. He surprised her then by pressing her hips down hard and bucking his hips up a little, even as his face remained sheltered in the valley between her breasts. Embarrassment flickered when she realised that she was probably getting his pants wet, but then he seemed perfectly happy to keep rocking against her and Darcy figured that given the pace and pressure he was using Steve wasn't so green that he wouldn't at least suspect that she'd be a little wet.

Warm calloused fingers traced down her spine as Bucky made a bid for her attention, she cradled Steve's face a little tighter, whisker burn be damned, and tried to focus. No mean feat with Steve working her into a frenzy and making a compelling argument for her to forget every rule she'd ever set for herself. The light friction against her clit felt better than anything she'd had in a damn long while and she wasn't in a rush to put an end to it. For now, Steve had no idea who she was. She had the rest of her life to be plain ol' Darcy, she just wanted to steal a few more moments of being the woman who made Captain America forget himself.

Bucky's hand slipped down to cover Steve's and gave her arse a tentative squeeze. Darcy turned to look at him, surprise to find him focused on her face, just like he'd been most of the night. The shit-eating grin, however, was not at all surprising. There was a dark sort of knowledge in his eyes that said so many things. It said: I know how to hide a body. I know how to make you beg. I know how to start a coup in a small Eastern European country.

Mostly it just said: I know who you are, Darcy Lewis.

The track was winding down and she could feel herself tensing, breaking with the pitiful fantasies she'd let grab her by the throat as Steve moved against her and inhaled her.

"We'll pay for longer," Bucky's voice was rougher than she'd expected, deeper than it had been when he'd spoken in clipped, one-word answers. "We'll pay for more."

The effort that it took to step back from Steve felt more like breaking bone than simply shifting joints and muscle. She stood back a little, weak limbed and shaking. She didn't cross her arms to cover herself, instead she called on reserves of strength and pride that she'd squirrelled away for just such an occasion and pointed toward the exit with a stiff arm and jutting chin.

"Door's that way, Gentlemen."

~*~

Bucky followed Steve's determined march all the to the curb outside. He wasn't sure when it had all gone to Hell, all he knew was that Steve was looking fit to murder someone and he didn't know if that anger was directed at him, or a little closer to home.

A cab inched forward and sat idling beside Steve.

"St-"

"Fifteen minutes and I get us kicked outta the joint," He was holding his leather jacket loosely over the front of his pants as he passed a shaky hand over his face, "Can't take me anywhere, huh?"

So much time had passed and Bucky couldn't quite believe that Steve still felt like he was cramping his style, like some squeaky third wheel. "I just... thought you'd like her."

"You thought right, Buck. She felt..." He pinked up a little as he looked up and down the street, "She felt right."

She is. Bucky knew suddenly that he'd been an arse when he'd stacked the scene against Steve. He'd picked the wise-cracking pin-up with secrets. He'd picked the girl who'd fit Steve, the one who'd left him chuckling when she left the room, the one who got him a little hot under the collar.

Even Bucky wasn't blind. Girls like Darcy Lewis didn't exactly litter the streets and, yeah, so he'd seen the opportunity to jump past all the BS and drop her naked and ready into Steve's lap. And if he got ringside seats... Well, it was still better than scum like him deserved.

"Jump in and start the meter," Bucky gently tapped his gloved hand against the roof of the cab, "I forgot to leave a tip."

"Double it and leave it at the desk," Steve dropped his head back against the headrest and shut his eyes tight.

Darcy was where they'd left her. He listened at the door for music, but he heard none and barely any time had passed. The flashy lights were all gone and a single fluorescent strip flooded the dark room with sickly yellow light. The whole place seemed seedier, but that might be down to the fact that he still felt like a dick. It didn't help that she was perched hugging her knees on the edge of the stage, not quite crying, but he suspected she wasn't far off. She'd managed to tug her panties back on, but he recovered her bra and corset before she realised that she wasn't alone.

"You know the purpose of pointing to the door was so that you'd relocate to the other side of it?"

"I'll remember that next time," he set the scraps of lace and silk down beside her.

"Has he figured it out yet?"

"He was a little preoccupied."

"You had no problems."

He had nothing to gain by lying so he gave her the truth, "Coulson had this figured out a couple months back. Didn't think it was an issue, but just wanted to make sure that this place was on the level."

Her nose screwed up a little as she spat, "I don't work for Coulson."

"Foster does and you work for her."

"So they sent you to check it out?"

He didn't bother to explain that his less-than-clean-cut image usually lent him to all sorts of seedy details. Mostly because he didn't think she'd enjoy being referred to as a 'seedy detail'. He nodded.

"Just the once?"

He didn't nod at that. Didn't need any more rope to hang himself with.

"How many times?"

Too many. Of all his dirty habits, he'd enjoyed watching her the most. He stuck to the shadows, watching her work the room and throwing back neat vodka when she'd disappear with some lucky schmuck. Sometimes he'd just drop by when it was time for her to leave, follow her on the subway for the three stops it took her to get home.

Bucky dug a card out from his pocket, he tucked a couple folded notes behind it and handed it over to her.

"You already paid."

"It's from Steve."

She shook her head, refusing to take it, so he sat it just inside the cup of her discarded bra.

"Steve and I... we're something." It seemed important that she knew that much. "But we ain't a package deal. Don't write him off because you got beef with me."

"Beef? I don't even know you."

"I'm James," he pointed to the card, "Says so right there. It's our address, if you change your mind."

"Will you tell him?"

She looked nervous as she asked, he took his time removing his leather glove, letting her see the glint of his prosthetic hand, then reached out to untie the ribbon securing the mask. She didn't flinch as he reached for her, didn't try to move away. She just let him tug the mask free and drop it into her lap.

That washed over him like a hit of morphine, heady and soothing, and he briefly considered just throwing her over his shoulder and dumping her into the cab. He figured between Steve and him they'd be able to convince her to hang around.

"I won't need to tell him," Bucky said softly, "He ain't naturally suspicious, but he'll start to put things together. He's a bright kid."

"Steve isn't a kid."

"S'what you think."

~*~

Darcy didn't screw around getting changed at the end of the night. She was wrecked, starving and still had a very uncomfortable call to make before she even got to consider food or sleep.

She stuffed her costume into her satchel and pulled on a plain pair of pink cotton panties and a mismatched black bra, then wriggled into pair of wrecked jeans that she couldn't bear to part with, a grey t-shirt and a maroon cable knitted cardigan. She stuffed her hair into a black knit cap and leaned into the mirror. One of her fake eyelashes had come half unstuck as she'd dressed and the thick layer of make-up was starting to show a little wear-and tear. Darcy tore at the lashes and threw them into the trash before attacking her face with a make-up remover wipe.

If she was going to come clean with Steve, it only made sense that she dress down to do it. At least if she had the conversation at Darcy 'Nothin' Special' Lewis there would be no illusions about who she was. She was just a girl hard-up for cash who sometimes played dress ups (then dressed down) for profit. The hours it took to get ready made for a punishing routine and it certainly wasn't one she was going to keep up on the off chance that Steve was able to reconcile the intern who wore coffee stains like medals of honour and the exotic pretend woman who'd only just been dry fucking him like her life depended on it. Ugh.

He'd realise the mistake, work out that there was nothing to get excited about. Probably give her a disappointed look, maybe a lecture. Then she'd be free to flip off Bucky as she backed out of the apartment and went home to make a bed fort.

Turned out - of course - that they were living in a breathtakingly overhauled brownstone and Darcy didn't really want to hazard a guess at the price, but she figured that, rented or owned, it had to be worth a bomb. She contemplated just telling the cab driver to keep driving until she was safely deposited at the front entrance of her own cinder block 1970's monstrosity, but Darcy Lewis was no coward. Unless there were snakes or tentacles involved, in which case she was very much a coward.

She paid the driver and then spent a little time loitering on the sidewalk. The whole neighbourhood screamed cashed-up, there were even fucking potted plants inside the little gated entrance to their stoop. Darcy had never really lived in a neighbourhood where people could be trusted not to abscond with potted greenery, but then she didn't imagine many people were brave enough to steal from a guy like Bucky, even without knowing his history he had a way about him that screamed 'do not fuck with'. Which was amusing, Darcy decided with a snort as she hauled herself up onto an ornate iron fence, because she'd come very close to doing just that.

It had to be getting close to two in the morning, traffic was slow and pedestrians were dodgy and moved with purpose. Darcy surveyed the street for a good five minutes before she heard the creak of the front gate opening.

"Thinking about coming in?" It was Bucky. He didn't seem particularly smug. Actually, he seemed a little agitated. He came out onto the street, barefoot and in only boxers and a long-sleeved Underarmour thermal.

"Actually, thinking about making a mad dash for the nearest cab."

"You could do that," Bucky moved in front of her and gripped her hips, lifting her to set her back onto her feet, "Or you could come in. Just quit hanging around outside in the middle of the night. Never took you for an idiot, Lewis."

"And I thought intelligence was your stock and trade? Seems like a decent neighbourhood to me."

"Kid, I live here." He nudged her toward the front stoop a little more forcefully than was strictly necessary while he made a noise that was part grunt, pat growl.

"Steve awake?" She asked as he took her satchel and opened the front door.

"Yeah, he's been in a foul mood since we got home."

"My fault?"

"Mine." Bucky said as he pointed up a ridiculous marble staircase. "Up and to the left, make noise, he'll know it's not me."

"You're not coming?"

Bucky looked pained, liked he'd love nothing more than to follow her up the stairway. "I'll give you some time. Might also be a little healthier for me if Steve has a little time to cool down when he realises I set him up."

The whole situation seemed a little off to Darcy, she spun back to Bucky with narrowed eyes. "I came here to come clean... not... y'know."

"Please, clarify. I'm an old fashioned guy."

Darcy snorted and crossed her arms. "I'm not a whore."

"Never thought you were, Doll."

"You offered me cash."

He huffed out a frustrated breath planted two fingers against her chest and pushed her slowly back against the wall. "I ain't above paying for a woman's time, Sweetheart. I'm not the sorta guy women like to socialise with. But when we fuck - and we always do - they want it as bad as I do. You got that?"

Yeah, she got it. Pressed between the wall and Bucky's considerable bulk Darcy was hard pushed to find fault with his argument. Sure, the guy scared the shit out of her, but the was something about his dark eyes and drawn face that had her wanting to stroke and pet him until he purred. Luckily, she had far too much self-preservation to follow that particular train of thought for any length of time. Bucky was pretty, but he was also a pretty fucking awful idea when it came to potential bed mates. She shimmied out from between Bucky and the wall and made her escape up the stairs. There was every chance that it was going to be one of those 'out of the pan, into the fire' scenarios, but the quicker she got her little confession out of the way, the quicker she could go home and start searching online for local animal shelters... just in case she wanted to the get jump on that whole cat lady thing.

Bucky had been right about her footsteps alerting Steve, by the time she hit the landing and took a sharp left into a lounge room, he was already leaning forward as if to get up from the beaten leather sofa. He paused on the edge of his seat when he spotted her, frowning.

"Miss Lewis?" He looked around the room, possibly for a shirt since he was only wearing wickedly low-slung track pants. He came up empty and turned back to her, confusion clear across his face.

"Are you okay? Is there something you ne-"

He blinked twice, then looked her up and down as recognition dawned. "Well I'll be damned." He flopped back onto the sofa and pinched the bridge of him nose. "I must be the biggest idiot in New York."

Darcy shuffled from foot to foot as she stood in the doorway, "Don't beat yourself up, Cap. The mask covers a multitude of sins."

He barked out a bitter little laugh, "Truer words were never spoken. I should apologise, I guess. I got carried away."

"I think I might have encouraged it," Darcy gave a lame little shrug, "Anyway, I'm here. No mystery anymore, just me. I didn't want there to be any... hard feelings." Jesus, take the wheel because this conversation is hitting black ice. "I should go."

"You're beautiful," Steve sort of blurted the words as Darcy turned to leave, she paused mid-step and looked over her shoulder.

"Yeah, I scrub up alright."

"No. Not there. I mean... yeah, you were beautiful there. But you're better here. Take it from a guy who's spent a long time being the 'better' version of himself. Sometimes the basic model is where it's at."

Darcy never thought she'd warm at being called a 'basic model' but he'd said it so earnestly, fingertips digging into the knees of his track pants, that she had to take it as the sweet and honest sentiment that it was. It was possibly the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.

"Y'know, the mask?" Darcy moved back over to the sofa and perched on the arm, as far away from Steve as she could be without obviously crawling the walls. "I don't wear it all the time, I feel different when I do. Like people don't see me. Just the summary of the best parts. It's like taking the person out of the body. Punters seem to like it, like if I'm not a whole person it's okay for them to pay me the way that they do. I can't complain, I wouldn't and that isn't really what I'm getting at... I just think sometimes masks are dangerous."

"Worried about me, Darce?"

"Should I be?"

Steve shrugged, as if he hadn't considered it himself. Was he okay? "I needed something from that club, Darcy."

Guilt smacked her in the face. She never really bought that guys needed to get off with other people at regular intervals, but she did believe that intimacy was vital. For her it was simple things like fist-bumps with Stark and spending time combing the burnt bits out of Jane's hair (because science, apparently, was dangerous), it only made sense that after so long on ice Steve would be looking for a little of that himself.

"What about Bucky?"

"You noticed that, huh?" He grinned a little.

"Might have picked up on it."

"Does it bother you?"

"The list of things that bothers me has seen some pretty significant changes in the past couple years." And it was true, the world had gone to Hell in a hand basket lately, Darcy wasn't begrudging anyone for finding a little love wherever they could.

Steve seems pretty pleased with her answer, "Doesn't mean I don't still want..."

"Pretty sure half the adult population of the city are able to accommodate you with that." She was up on her feet, angling toward the door again when he scooted along the sofa and grabbed her hand.

"This isn't just about getting into your pants, Darcy. Though I won't lie and say it isn't on my mind. It is. It's eating at my mind. But I don't want the girl at the club, she's swell, but she's not for me. I don't want to be the Cap all the time, I want to be Steve. And sometimes I reckon I might like to be Steve and Darcy. And sometimes I'd like to be Steve and Darcy and Bucky."

Darcy was torn between wanting to throw her underwear at him and a long history of skepticism.

"Three minutes ago you had no idea I was the woman dancing for you."

"No. But three minutes ago I was still hung up on the woman who calls Fury 'Shaft', snorts a little when she laughs and still thinks I don't know that she calls me 'Cap'n Tightpants'. Bucky likes you too, that guy doesn't leave things to chance. We were at the club to see you, no one else."

She wasn't entirely convinced that Bucky liked anything that wasn't explosive or high calibre, but she was willing to let that slide for Steve's sake. "Soooo Steve and Darcy and Bucky?"

Steve shifted forward on the sofa and a Darcy finally allowed herself a few moments to appreciate his chest. Because damn. "It's food for thought. Think it over," Steve said with a shrug that wasn't as casual as he might have been going for.

It was a genuine struggle to not crack a joke about biting off more than she could chew, so she just gave him a crooked two fingered salute and left.

Left Steve. Shirtless. On the sofa. Where she could have presumably had her way with not only him, but also his scary as fuck friend.

She made it to the bottom of the stairs before she fully started to appreciate how stupid that was. It wasn't like she wasn't self-aware enough to know that eventually (a couple days or a couple weeks later) she'd end up back on their doorstep. There was no arguing that it was all going to end with Darcy sobbing into a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream and swearing off men forever, but in the interim was it such an awful idea to maybe give a little and see if it worked?

"Leaving?" Bucky stepped into the foyer and propped his shoulder against the wall.

"Nope." She snatched a handful of his shirt and dragged him back up the stairs. She paused at the doorway to the lounge room, Bucky crowding in at her back, throwing off heat but not touching her. Steve was in the midst of some pretty aggressive channel surfing, but killed the TV.

"So I thought it through," her voice came out a little softer than she'd hoped.

Steve was up on his feet, slowly crossing the floor, "And?"

She slipped off her knit cap and while she didn't think it was an overly erotic move, she'd never seen a more enthusiastic response. Bucky's hands clamped down on her waist, lifting her so that her knees came up to bracket Steve's hips. She was quick to wrap her legs around him as he leaned in to nip at her lips in a series of kisses that gradually lengthened and escalated into a rather heated, wet, open mouthed exploration.

Between the crush of their bodies she could feel Bucky's hand - his flesh and bone one - work up beneath her clothes. He flipped up the wired cups of her bra strumming and working at her nipples until she felt ready to scream. Darcy had no idea where they were heading, may even have kicked over a pedestal table en route, but eventually Bucky was stepping aside so that Steve could lower her onto a king sized bed. She ended up planted between the two of them, though Bucky seemed content to keep a little distance as Steve got up to made light work of her shoes and socks, then started to tug her jeans down.

"How did you even get in to these?"

"Voodoo," Bucky offered as he reached across to slip his warm fingers down over the front of her underwear. "Only explanation for how her arse looks so good." He didn't waste time, stroking her through the damp cotton, pressing and coaxing until the fabric was causing a gentle sort of friction against her clit. Steve finished undressing her, hurling her jeans, shirt and cardigan clear across the room before dropping to his knees beside the bed and dragging her down until her hips reached the edge. Hot breath ghosted across her underwear as she looked down the line of her body to see his tarnished gold head dipped between her thighs. The first long, hot drag of his tongue would have had her jackknifing up if Bucky hadn't held her down, hand once more shifting the cups of her bra to allow him access to her breasts.

It was fair to guess that Bucky was a boob man.

Steve continued to suck and lick at her until the cotton of her underwear was drenched and transparent, Darcy nudged Steve's head with her knee then lifted her hips while she shoved at her underwear. He took the hint and slipped them all the way off before sending them toward her pile of discarded clothing.

Her knees fell wide as he rocked back on his knees to fumble with the drawstring of his track pants. It was kind of hard not to get hung up on the neat lines of his torso. Darcy made grabby hands in his general direction, her fingertips aching to trace the cut lines between his hips, but Bucky was there, blocking her field of vision as he yanked his shirt overhead, leaving his hair mussed as he dropped his mouth to nip and lave at her nipples. Even in her lust-fuelled haze Darcy noticed how Bucky avoided touching her with his prosthetic arm, it bothered her in a way she hadn't reckoned on. It wasn't like she fully knew what his arm could do anyway, there was every chance he was just protecting her from getting accidentally hurt. Besides, he made good with one hand and a wickedly talented mouth, taunting and punishing her with persistent tugs and ache-inducing rasps of the tongue.

A hand covered her knee, gently pressing them wider and Darcy laced her fingers into Bucky's hair, arching up to watch as Steve stroked himself, fingers idly tracing patterns on her knee as he arched an eyebrow at her and asked, "Okay?"

"So okay." She wasn't one to wax lyrical about a penis. She'd always found them kind of funny looking, but clearly she'd been looking at the wrong ones. Steve's cock stood hard and ready, thick enough to make her glad she was so wet. Darcy arched her hips up a little in invite and he didn't need to be told twice, he pressed into her roughly and without pause.

"Fuck, Darce," Bucky grated against her breast when she pulled at his hair. She tried to make amends by stroking his hair, but mostly ended up petting the outer edge of his ear. Steve's fault entirely, he fucked like he was starved for her, desperate to leave her shaking and gasping for more. Which she was and she wasn't shy about encouraging him either.

"Yeah, right there, St- Shit, Bucky, teeth!" Bucky just looked up at her with a sly wink, then turned his head away as he gazed down between her legs and let his hand move over the curve of her stomach and down to further spread the lips of her pussy, grinding against her clit with the palm of his hand and letting Steve's cock run through the guide of his fingers. He curled up to catch Steve in a hard, lingering kiss and it was the final thing Darcy needed - between the cock testing her limits and the rough hand pressing against her clit - to press her hands to her face, draw her knees up and let her climax blow through her with ridiculous intensity.

Steve wasn't far behind her, his fingertips bruising her hips as he clenched his eyes shut, arched his neck back and came in her with a series of jerky, broken thrusts. Some still vaguely functional part of her brain (a tiny part, she was guessing) filed away the fact that he looked incredible when he came, all sweat-slick bronzed muscle, fluffy hair and squinty eyed. Kind of like he was stuck somewhere between having a stroke and posing for the front cover of GQ. It was kind of comforting to know that he didn't look perfect all the time.

Bucky clicked his tongue in censure as he rested with his cheek smooshed against her breast and stroked her soaked pussy, instantly filling her with two fingers when Steve withdrew and dropped beside her on the bed still sucking down great gasps of air.

"Makin' a mess of your girl, Rogers. Ain't polite to come in her on the first date." He rolled over and slid off the bed, moving into the space Steve had just vacated. "Lucky I don't mind cleaning up."

Darcy's eyes went wide and she tried to snap her knees shut, very aware of what was going on downstairs, but Bucky was there, wide shoulders keeping her legs wide and his eyes growing hungry as he gazed at her come filled cunt. "Don' mind at all."

"Oh, shit," Darcy whimpered at the first sweep of his tongue. She found the strength to lift her head and caught him with threads of Steve's come stretching between her pussy and his tongue. It shouldn't have been hot. Shouldn't have sent shocks to her cunt, readying her for more. But with his tongue darting into her, seeking and relishing, she wasn't just ready - she was fucking desperate. He smiled against her and she reached down to grab him, nails raking over his scalp as her hips bucked up to meet his talented mouth. Satisfied with his work, he settled in to tongue her clit, catching and rolling it between the tip of his tongue and his upper lip, worrying the aching nub back and forward as heat coiled and compacted low in her belly.

Steve rolled into her side, throwing off heat like a rogue space heater. His hand spanned her ribcage and it made her feel petite (she wasn't) as his nose nudged her hair aside seeking out her neck. "I want to taste you on him," Steve was quiet and unsure as he spoke.

If she had the mental wherewithal she might have pointed out that he'd be tasting a lot more than just her in his mouth, but it seemed uncouth and - with Bucky drawing greedily on her tender little clit - she doesn't think she can spare the breath to speak. Instead she just let Bucky drive her to a series of stuttered little climaxes, more than she'd ever thought herself capable of after coming the way she had with Steve. But Bucky didn't seem content with her sharp gasps and the involuntary bucking of her hips. He leaned back and growled as he sank his teeth into the inside of her thigh. "You can do better than that, Darcy."

There was a brief moment of hope as she wondered if he'd just fill her with the cock she could so clearly see tenting his boxers - God knew how badly she wanted it - but instead he drove two fingers into her and pressed down between her hips - just at the top of her pelvis - with his prosthetic hand. The hand was bizarrely articulated and fluid, which was a surprise, it was warm and smooth as he pressed gently and the fingers in her pussy bent upward in a 'come hither' gesture.

...And she did. Hard. So hard that she grabbed his metallic wrist and gripped it for all she was worth. There was the sensation of a quick wet rush between her thighs and if Bucky's shit-eating grin was any indication, he knew exactly how well he'd done. "Good girl, Darcy."

Yeah, well, she had his number too. She yanked hard at his wrist and he let her tug him up onto the bed beside her, she slithered to the floor (which was just about the most energetic sort of movement she could manage) and sort of convulsed until she managed to draw one arm over his knee to support herself. Steve and Bucky exchanged amused grins, like they'd suddenly found their new favourite (if slothful) pet.

Bucky's smug grin lasted exactly as long as it took Darcy to release her bra and crowd into the space between his knees. His cock pressed against the light blue cotton of his boxers, the thick head peeking through the button fly and beaded with moisture. She tugged the waistband down, making some vaguely encouraging noises when he lifted his hips so that she could get them to his knees. When she finally had him in hand, she felt a little smug herself. He did have an awfully lovely cock. It curved slightly toward his stomach, his sac heavy and tight as she cupped it. She relished his hiss as she traced her tongue over the thick vein that ran the length of the underside of his cock, then circled the head with her mouth. Darcy worked him with her tongue and hands just long enough to slick him with her mouth, then came up onto her knees, pressed her considerable breasts either side of his eager dick and began to guide him up and down between her cleavage.

She made no attempt to hide her self-satisfied smirk when his eyes rolled back in his head and he flopped back against Steve's chest. It was followed by a petty pang of jealousy in her chest as she watched the two men kiss. Even if Steve had been free with his body and his mouth, she got the feeling that Bucky was less so. He'd ticked all the right (ahem) boxes and done so in pretty spectacular form, but he hadn't kissed her, hadn't made any effort to fuck her... Even while he was urgently fucking her tits with short powerful thrusts he seemed to be keeping himself in check, his hands hovering just above her, fingertips flexing as if he were reluctant to touch her. It was Steve that eventually ran his hands over Bucky's shoulders and down the length of his arms to his hands, guiding and pressing them to Darcy's breasts.

The combined pressure was all it took to have him blowing his load over her breasts in hot jets while he threw his head back and uttered a discordant and guttural array of Russian curses.

She wasn't sure what happened next, where they went in their heads. All she knew was that she was watching two beautiful men embrace with shaking limbs while she sat down on the floor, pussy fucked and eaten until she was raw and come cooling and running down her breasts. Suddenly she was struggling to remember why she'd been so keen to dive head first into the arrangement.

Darcy was a little unsteady as she got to her feet, mumbled something about a shower and then retreated to the relative safety of the bathroom.

~*~

"Can we keep her?" Steve tried for a light tone of voice as they watched Darcy's pert arse disappear into the bathroom.

"Sure," Bucky growled sourly, "She's all yours."

"Ours," Steve clarified as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, but Bucky wasn't buying any of his Boy Scout crap. He could be as generous as he wanted, but Bucky knew damn well that Darcy had only dragged him into their friendly little fuckfest to please Steve.

And like the dog he was, he'd lapped it up. Eager to follow and watch, because even being on the sidelines was better than sitting downstairs in the kitchen, beating himself up and imagining what the pair were doing upstairs.

Only, he'd managed to fuck it up. He'd overstepped, lost himself, fallen face first into her tits and then, as if that weren't bad enough, he had shocked her by demanding to suckle her sweet little pussy. Christ, he winced at the mere thought. Most guys saved that sort of stuff for later. Not him, he'd gone face first into some pretty blue territory.

That wasn't even the worst of it. She'd turned around and made out like it was some new age school race, where every kid had to walk away with a ribbon. She'd got him off with her fucking amazing breasts, probably a guilty afterthought for her, and he had gone weak at the knees. Darcy had offered him something off his carnal 'most wanted' list and she didn't even know much it had rocked him. How much the small kindness - no doubt a concession for Steve - had planted her even more firmly in that dark mass lurking behind his ribs.

It wasn't that he begrudged what was starting between Darcy and Steve. The very thought of tearing open his chest and finding the two lovers entwined within him made him feel warmer than he had in decades. What ruined him was knowing that he was only there under Darcy's sufferance.

Pathetic.

He pulled up his boxers and jerked his head toward the bathroom. "You should check on her. That was a bit..."

"Yeah."

"Didn't know you had it in you." A lie, Bucky knew exactly what he was capable of.

Steve looked at him intently, like he was searching for something. Maybe the old Bucky, the man he'd been before he was taken. "I ain't sitting out any more dances, Buck. I've learned that lesson. You should be wise to it by now too." He jabbed a finger toward the closed bathroom door, "That girl in there? Doesn't know it yet, but her dance card has got our names all over it. It's full."

"Only takes two to dance," Bucky muttered as he stalked from the bedroom, slamming the door as he went.

It was a shitty analogy anyway.

~*~

The bathroom rattled as a door slammed and Darcy had a fair idea who'd slammed it.

Fine. At least it would make her emergence from the shower a little less awkward. She wasted no time in washing Bucky's leavings from her skin and bundling herself up in an oversized towel.

Out in the bedroom, Steve was moving around straightening the bed, turning down the covers and generally fussing. He seemed a little flustered as she approached her pile of clothes. "Bucky?" Her voice fell a little short of casual enquiry.

"Just out for a run."

Not that Darcy was intimate with the exercise regimes of master assassins, but she felt that a four am run was damn convenient considering everything that they'd just managed roll into an hour. It was a lot to process and if she thought - even for a second - that Bucky was just clearing his head, it might have been okay. But even absent he was a spectre in the room, the guy that played advance and retreat with touch and sex, the guy that had wound her into this little mess... then just dusted off his hands, said 'no thanks' and hauled arse.

"C'mon, Darce," Steve grabbed her hand in a strangely chaste fashion, then unwound her towel and lowered her to the bed, tucking her in with tenderness and care, "Don't forget where he's coming from, what he's been through. He's not so crash hot at picking up on cues, doesn't know where he's wanted and where he isn't."

"For the record," Darcy mumbled into her pillow as Steve crawled over her and wriggled into the bed, "I don't do that with guys I don't want."

He dropped a soft kiss to her lips and pulled her into his arms. "Tell him. As many times as you can. God knows it took me a while to get it through his thick skull."

Darcy didn't sleep, couldn't. She marvelled that Steve managed to fall asleep, surely she was thinking so hard that it was making noise? She kept replaying what had happened, the events of the night that had lead to her winding up in Captain-fucking-America's bed. It was like a damaging, pornographic, epilepsy-inducing slideshow that flickered on repeat in her head.

Barely an hour had passed when dawn began to peek in around the edges of the heavy drapes in the room. Steve slept fitfully, turning in on himself as he mewled and shivered in his sleep. She felt like a bit of a shit, choosing to slip from the bed and not turning back to comfort him. She gathered and toed her pile of clothes across the floor, not stooping to collect them and dress until she was safely on the other side of the door.

It was the coward's way out, she knew that. She just needed a little time. Her satchel was sitting in the corridor, she hauled it up onto her shoulder and rifled through it, finding her discarded mask and a Sharpie. Darcy scrawled her cell number on the inside of the mask, tied the ribbon ends together and hung it from the bedroom door handle. It wasn't that she didn't think Steve could find her number, it was more that by leaving it she was inviting him to call. Softening the blow. Hopefully.

Bucky had been right about one thing, just because she had a beef with him didn't mean she had to shut Steve out. Still, she didn't like the idea of overstaying her welcome on the first night and if her presence was keeping Bucky from their bed... well. Her own damn bed would do just fine.

It was almost the perfect escape, but then she shuffled out the front door and onto the stoop, where she very nearly fell over Bucky. He was sitting on the steps, still in his boxers and he'd found another long sleeved shirt, his hair was held back in an elastic and he perched a cup of coffee on one knee.

They stared at each other in the thready light of dawn, cold and unsure of one another. Darcy's eyes flickered to the cup of coffee and he handed it to her. "Look at me the way you look at that coffee and I might just take you back upstairs."

Darcy let the lie slide. She wrapped her fingers around the mug and sank down onto the step next to him, blowing at the coffee, then sipping it enough to gauge the temperature and taking a greedy sip.

"Can't convince you to stay?" Bucky asked as he looked up and down the street, then at a trail of industrious ants, then down at his own toes... really, he was looking anywhere but at Darcy.

"I called a cab," she said as she peered into the coffee.

"I'll take you on Steve's bike. Least I can do."

But, really, the thought of plastering herself against his back made her simultaneously hot and nervous as Hell. Darcy handed the coffee back over to him and ferreted around in her bag until she pulled up the small fold of cash that he'd given her at the club. "Well, technically, you are paying for the cab."

Bucky huffed out a bitter laugh. A cab rolled up and Darcy stood to leave, he snatched her wrist in his grip. "Stay, it'll break his heart if you aren't there when he wakes up."

"And your heart?" Fuck, she could have bitten her own tongue off.

His prosthetic hand rubbed across his chest, flashing gold as it reflected the dawn sky. He sipped at their cup of coffee as he considered his answer. "These days I ain't so sure I got one left to break."

After that, Darcy had no problems letting herself out of the gate and escaping into the waiting cab.

Chapter Text

On Monday a small cheery posy of peonies and an honest-to-God red heart-shaped box of chocolates were sitting at the small workspace she'd carved out for herself in the lab.

Jane scooted over in an office chair and pointed at the chocolates. "Did you buy those for me?"

"No, they're mine."

"Damn. I forgot breakfast," Jane propelled herself back toward her bench.

Darcy took the time to grab a granola bar from the stash in the cupboard above her and tossed it to her, "No chocolate before ten, unless it's on a Poptart. We've had this discussion." She perched gingerly in her seat, mindful of the tender mark Bucky's bite had left high on the inside of her thigh.

"Who is buying you things?" Jane asked as she started to sheaf through a pile of notes.

It was a good question considering her early morning walk of shame the day before. She poked through the flowers, but found no card, then flipped up the lid on the box of chocolates.

Would really like the chance to do this in the correct order. Dinner tonight?

-J & S

The message was accompanied by a small beautifully sketched mask, much like the one she'd left on the bedroom door. Darcy jammed the lid back on the box and shrugged at Jane.

"Not one of the guys from the club?" Jane was one of the few (though not as few as Darcy had first thought) that knew what she did for extra cash. Darcy had explained it one day when she'd had to ask for later starts (because sleep didn't grow on trees). Jane hadn't been shocked, exactly, just a little taken aback. Mostly because she'd never witnessed Darcy display anything remotely like rhythm.

"Just... a guy I'm seeing."

"You?!" Jane asked around a mouth of granola, "Since when do you see people?"

"I saw Ian for, like, two weeks."

"You didn't see him, you steamrolled him."

She shrugged, she couldn't exactly argue with that. "Look, it's complicated."

"She says to the woman having a long distance - we're talking light years here - relationship with a Norse god. Try me?"

Darcy did a quick sweep of the lab and, satisfied that they were alone, blurted out, "I may or may not be conducting a three-way relationship with Captain America and Captain 'The Soviets Brainwashed Me and Jacked Up My Arm'."

Jane looked down at the granola bar in her hand, possibly inspecting it for the presence of psychotropic drugs. When she found none, she set it aside and crab-walked her chair back over to Darcy's side. "How hard and fast is that 'no chocolate before ten' rule?" she asked.

With a sigh, Darcy opened the box once more and began to divvy up the chocolates.

~*~

Steve stood in the kitchen looking down at the still blank card he'd handed to Bucky to fill out for Darcy's flowers. Back in the day, Bucky had never been short on smooth words. He'd had a handful of staple phrases that he'd cycle through for whichever girls he was sweet on at the time. Steve wasn't sure if he was pleased or upset that Bucky wouldn't even use one of his old lines for Darcy.

He tossed the card into the trash and turned back to the industrial sized stove, where Bucky was stirring through an arrabiatta sauce. It was just as well that he'd signed the gifts on behalf of both of them, or she might not have agreed to come to dinner. A few steps brought him flush against Bucky's back and he was was gentle but steady as he traced the rough seam of flesh where skin met metal. Bucky's spine jumped, but he didn't move. Steve leaned in and dropped his mouth to the straining tendon that ran up the side of his neck.

"Your girl'll be here soon," Bucky stepped aside and handed him the wooden spoon.

"Ours. Our girl. Seems funny now, I seem to recall a time when tagging along on dates with you gave me that edgy look you're wearin' right this minute."

"Hilarious," Bucky's voice was flat as he turned to leave the kitchen.

"You aren't leaving?"

"I outta. She ain't comin' for me."

Steve's disbelief was clearly written across his face, "Reds take your brain too?"

Bucky propped himself against the marble island in the middle of the kitchen. "It's pretty clear that I'm not the ladies' man you remember. Last half a century, all my uses for women have been tactical or physical. I'm either using them for a mission or to blow off some steam. The Winter Soldier didn't really get called up for Valentine Ops. Something about the arm, makes all the debutantes faint. It'd be best if I just cleared out."

And if Bucky truly believed a word he was saying, then Steve and Darcy had their work cut out for them. He jabbed a thumb toward the door. "Too much stupid in this kitchen right now, Buck. Go upstairs and get shifted into something neat. We mauled the girl like a pack of dogs last time. Tonight we show her a good time."

~*~

It felt weird to be lining up for a date with two men that she'd so recently done her darnedest to bang the Hell out of.

Actually, it should just feel plain weird to be lining up for a date with two men. Still, the world was shifting on its axis, things were more askew with each day and Darcy wasn't giving up her right to 'be a greedy whore' (Jane's friendly words) and take what she could get. She paused at their doorway to smooth down her new skirt, a dark grey pencil skirt matched with a red button down shirt and chunky black cardigan. She'd even pushed the boat out and swapped her Chucks for a pair of heels in the cab.

There were two bottles of wine in her satchel, the purchase of which highlighted another glitch in the 'two's-company, three's a damn good time' thing they had going on. One bottle seemed right for a date with two people, but a little mean for three. A cask would have done the job, but she didn't need to point out to her two old-enough-to-be-her-great-grandfather lovers just how firmly rooted in her college years her tastes still were. So she'd opted to splurge for a second bottle, pricey stuff too, because the date, the new skirt and, yeah, the men all called for something a little better than what she'd always been happy to settle for.

There was another unnecessary spot of preening before she knocked gently. The door swung open and Bucky stood there in dark pressed trousers and a white shirt rolled up to his forearms, his hair was combed back and he'd even gone so far as to be clean shaven. She contemplated just leaving her underwear at the door, but since Steve had been adorably formal in requesting the date, the least she could do was tone down the hormones for a couple of hours.

"Hey, Bucky," she gave a far-too-toothy grin and perched her glasses a little higher on her nose.

Bucky took his sweet-arse time looking her up and down. "Lookin' good, Lewis." He stepped back leaving a small gap underneath his arm for her to squeeze through. "Shoulda been there when he woke up, Honey," his voice was rough and close in her ear, "Always wakes up hard and ready. No matter, I've been taking care of that for a while now."

Darcy stumbled as the mental image of endless muscle, sweat and rumpled sheets came to mind. She waited for confusion, discomfort... anything to suggest that she wasn't okay with the thought of them together. But, God help her, she was so fucking okay with it that she was powerless to stop herself pressing the palm of her hand against the juncture of her thighs in a desperate bid ease the violent jolt of pressure there.

It was clearly the wrong thing to do, Bucky caught her not-so-subtle slip of the hand and hissed as he pushed past her, leaving her to stumble on her heels. Seemed Bucky was determined to outdo himself in the dick stakes. Darcy wanted to be cool about it, but the truth of it was that she'd spent the afternoon hoping to find him a little more amenable to their budding arrangement. As it stood, she juggled the very real fear that they'd be over before they even properly got off the ground. "Steve's in the kitchen, kid," he spat as she caught up. "He's outdone himself with dinner."

It didn't seem to ring true for Darcy, she remembered Steve admitting that he survived on the cooking and kindness of others, since he'd never been that great at cooking for himself. Still, she shrugged it off and retrieved the wine bottles from her bag.

It wasn't surprising that the kitchen, like the rest of the house, was a stunning and homey space. It was pimped out with all the requisite industrial gear, but finished off with marble benches and slate floors and she was fairly certain she'd put out simply for access to the kitchen.

It helped that the kitchen came equipped with one endearingly ruffled Steve Rogers, who stood at the stove looking panicked while he gripped a wooden spoon as though it could explode at any second. But for the fact that he was wearing khaki pants, he might as well have coordinated his evening wear with Bucky (who marched in, shouldered him out of the way and tended to their dinner while pointedly turning his back on both of them).

Steve rushed forward to grab the wine and set it aside, turning back with a sheepish grin as he rubbed the back of his neck. Darcy wasn't accustomed to playing coy with a man once she knew what it felt like to have his tongue wrapped around her clit and yet there they stood, uneasy and desperately afraid of making some fatal misstep (not Bucky though, it seemed as if he was ready to dance on the grave of their non-relationship).

The awkward tension was too much for Darcy, who stepped forward and gingerly slipped her arms around Steve's waist. It was all the encouragement he needed, his hips slipped up against her own, his arms came up to close around her shoulders and she came up onto her tiptoes just as he brushed a kiss against her cheek. "Hey," he said as he smiled warmly down at her.

"Hiya."

His arms flexed gently around her and she leaned more comfortably into the embrace. It felt, to her, like a little bit of forgiveness for her early morning dash. His smell was becoming familiar, his heat seeped into her bones and his heart thumped against her cheek.

Behind them, a cupboard slammed.

"Glass," Bucky grunted and he roughly set a single wineglass onto the island in the middle of the kitchen.

Steve shot her a soothing wink as he eased away from her and turned to open the wine.

"Just me?" she asked with a nod to the single glass.

"I - uh - it's wasted on me," Steve explained as he poured her a generous glass, "I can't get wasted and Bucky is on call."

"More for me," she joked as she set her bag on a bench. She wanted to point out that he could drink for the enjoyment of it, but maybe it just wasn't his thing. It wouldn't do to lead Captain America down a shady path... again.

It surprised her that the first real reminder that the two men were card-carrying superheroes was something so mundane. She took her wine with a small frown and perched on one of the stools tucked under the kitchen island. A beat passed and Steve stood on the opposite side of the island, midway between Darcy and where Bucky stood - still ignoring them - at the stovetop.

She necked a hefty swig of her wine and reached for the bottle to top up. At least she'd made a good choice with the wine. Not so much with the whole Steve'n'Bucky thing though. If the dinner tanked - and it really seemed to be headed that way - at least she'd be able to cut her loses. Maybe set herself up with some sort of Miss Havisham style gig, swear off men.

Truth was, Darcy already felt too deep into the foxhole to surface without incurring any serious damage. She was an utter fucktard, but that was how things stood. She was caught up on kind, hot and wicked Steve and wanting desperately be something more than a procured lay for Bucky's best friend. Darcy wasn't naive enough to think that she was in love, but she knew damn well that she was in the neighbourhood. It was a rough area and not one she was familiar with.

"No work tonight?" Bucky finally decided to join their stilted conversation as he drained off a massive pot of pasta. Part of her wondered if he wasn't just trying to needle her by bringing up the club.

"It's Monday," Darcy shrugged, "Not a busy night."

"Men don't want to see naked women on Mondays?" Bucky asked, his back still turned to her.

"You tell me," she snapped. He turned then, eyes catching at her chest. She'd thought the button down shirt and cardigan were demure, classy almost. But when Bucky looked at her like that she felt as if she might as well be swinging tassels from her nipples.

Steve took the pause in hostility to jump forward and start laying out cutlery. "Figured we could eat in here," he said as he laid out three settings, one next to her and one on the other side of the island.

Darcy was still held in her staring contest with Bucky, his eyes shifting up to her face while she cocked her head at him. He was beautiful. She knew there was so much ugliness about what had been done to him, about what he'd been forced to become, and she almost wished that some of that had seeped into the strong lines of his face or cowed him in some way. Maybe then she wouldn't be so damn driven to drag him kicking and screaming into something he clearly didn't want. He obviously found her lacking or... or dirty and that rankled. He had come looking for her. He had watched her strip for god only knew how many nights and decided that she was just the right woman to throw at Steve.

...and Steve had caught her in a pretty spectacular manner. Was that the problem? That she and Steve had taken to the new arrangement so willingly and with so much (ahem) enthusiasm?

Darcy had bargained on some kind of accord with Bucky, had hoped to tread the common ground of two people a little tarnished from the way that the world had used them... But was that entirely fair? To count on a man wanting her because he'd been abused? To think he was on her level when, really, all her choices had been her own and his... hadn't?

She was the interloper there and it would be smart to remember that she was there only as long as Steve wanted her. Her thoughts were derailed as Steve crossed close behind her hand passing firmly across her shoulders as he slipped onto the stool next to her and offered a broad smile. "Hungry?"

Yeah, she was. Hard to not be hungry with Steve packed in next to her, throwing off heat and his own brand of righteous sexiness (the sort that made a girl feel flares of guilt for her wanton ways... then vigorously ignore them). She pushed Bucky from her mind and returned the smile. "Starving."

~*~

Steve had 'the look', the one that said 'keep it up, Buddy, you'll only tire yourself out'. He kept throwing it toward Bucky and with every sullen glance and deliberate clutter of his fork he felt less and less like a man and more like a kid who knew he was about to cop a wooden spoon to the side of the head. Even Steve wasn't a saint and Bucky knew that he was testing his limits.

It wasn't exactly as though he'd set out to upset Darcy, it just seemed that every time he opened his mouth something appalling came out and there she was, slim fingers shaking as she reached for her wine glass. She was into the second bottle and leaning heavily up against Steve, her face tucked down against his shoulder as she laughed and his thumb stroked gently between her shoulders.

He wanted to say the right things, tell her she looked amazing, tell her that she'd been on his mind since the morning she'd left. Wanted to know more about the way she'd touched herself at the mention of him being with Steve, because if the thought of that worked for her, he'd like nothing more than to give her a front row seat. With a little audience participation.

She'd made an admirable attempt at eating her pasta, especially given that he'd served her up a plate that he or Steve would have eaten and, all his attempts to put her off aside, she was a great date. Steve answered her every question about growing up and the war, for a while he'd thrown questions at Bucky, anything to wrangle him into the conversation, but he wasn't having it. Darcy had a habit of answering Steve's questions with a preface like 'well, I'm not as exciting as you but...' and Bucky hated that she didn't see what she really was: a tough kid who was boldly throwing herself into a war she wasn't equipped to fight. Kinda like someone else he'd once known... a long time ago.

Maybe that was what had him so caught up on her, she was so like Steve but he saw himself there too. A little hardness in her eyes, a joke to cut things down before they got too serious. If she kept it up she'd get mean one day soon and he wanted to be the one she cut her teeth on, wanted to be the one to handle her when Steve couldn't.

"Why the dancing?" he asked suddenly, his voice a little cracked from disuse.

Steve's eyes rolled toward the ceiling.

Darcy paused, wineglass halfway to her mouth as she shrugged. "Cash, I guess."

"You like it?"

"I'm good at it."

"No arguments here, Doll." But it wasn't answer enough, didn't tell him the things he wanted to know about her. "Why not something else? Ever think about keeping your panties on and getting a respectable job?" He didn't even need a full second to realise how awful that sounded, but then she didn't need any longer to return a spectacular salvo.

"Ever think about not killing people and getting a respectable job?" Even hammered she was quick to cut him down.

Bucky shot to his feet, but Steve was well ahead of him, swiftly tucking his shoulder into her lap and standing with her slung over his shoulder. Steve orchestrated her retreat with a level of common sense and self preservation that neither Darcy nor Bucky could ever hope to achieve.

~*~

It had been, Steve admitted, an unmitigated disaster. He'd been too distracted with Darcy's hand on his knee to notice the escalating hostilities between the two. Then suddenly shots had been fired (by whom, he couldn't rightly say) and he was left hefting a small bundle of woman and ire to his bedroom.

He set Darcy gently down on his bed and pushed her hair out if her eyes. They were bleary, sort of unfocused and maybe just a little teary. He gently lifted her glasses from her face and set them on the bedside table. Was he being an idiot to try and force things? Just because the idea of the three of them felt right to him didn't mean that it was.

Darcy was shuffling round in the bed, grabbing pillow after pillow and turfing it onto the floor. Steve sat by her feet and slipped her heels off. "Problem with the pillows?"

"Smells like him," she muttered as she struggled to remove her cardigan. It too sailed past him to the floor. "Jerkface."

"You drunk, Lewis?"

She narrowed her eyes as if trying to make up her mind, "Probably when you did the caveman thing all the alcoholic blood rushed to my brain. S'hot but... bleugh."

She reached up with clumsy fingers and started fumbling with the buttons of her shirt. Steve knocked her hands out of the way to help, he was a standup guy like that. "Gotta go easy on him, Darce," he didn't want to sound like he was leading into a lecture, but she needed to know how hard her comment had struck. "Been a while since he's wanted a girl the way he wants you. He's got to remember all his moves."

She blew a raspberry and screwed up her nose. "Barnes ain't got no moves. 'Cept his face. I like his face. Face like that is a killer move. And his co-"

Steve finished with the buttons and parted her shirt. Christ, he'd never get over all that creamy skin and her spectacular breasts. Her bra, a light pink floral silk number did nothing to hide her dark nipples, she gave what he guessed was meant to be a 'come hither' grin and tried to shimmy her shoulders. Drunk as she was, it was more amusing than sexy, but for his own peace of mind he decided it was time to get her under the covers. He rolled her aside while he untucked the bedding.

Darcy started yanking at the zipper on her skirt, even managed to get it partway undone before Steve helped her slip the garment down her legs. She wore a thong to match her bra and Steve felt a moment's panic, it matched her bra and was similarly inadequate at hiding the bare pink skin beneath. He could make out the dark little slit of her pussy and then more as she rolled her hips and parted her legs slightly. He was trying to be a gentleman, but even he had his limits. He traced a finger down over the silk dipping between her parted lips, stopping to let it play gently over the slight rise of her clit.

"Mmm," Darcy smiled and reached up to cup his face. She damn near poked his eye out in the process and it was a sharp reminder as to why he should be keeping his hands to himself.

"Wear these for me?" he couldn't help slipping the question in while she was just drunk enough to answer.

"Bucky," she didn't even sound remotely embarrassed. Served him right for trying to wrest information from a weakened target. "Thought I'd seduce him." A huffy little breath escaped. "Intense fail."

He dropped a kiss to her forehead, "Not entirely."

"Y'should probably undress me," she was trying the 'come hither' thing again, only now that she was mostly naked and in his bed it was a lot harder to ignore. "Underwear's cutting off my circulation."

He looked down at the barely-there silk, highly suspicious of its ability to do anything other than cause him very real and serious mental anguish. "Yeah, it's doing something pretty funny to my circulation too." Her hands came up to tangle around his neck, "Jeez, Darcy, you got more arms than Doc Oc."

She humphed and crossed her arms, he shot her a wink as he hooked his thumbs into her panties and slowly drew the scrap of silk down her legs. He had second thoughts as he watched the pale fabric cling to her pussy when he tried to remove it, but he stood firm and pocketed it before tucking her in.

"Sleep it off, Lewis."

~*~

Bucky felt a little ill as he stared at the lipgloss-smeared rim of Darcy's wineglass. His head came up as Steve moved into the kitchen and propped himself against the furthest counter.

"That was quick. Need me to go up there and finish the job?"

A muscled ticked in Steve's jaw as Bucky arched an eyebrow. Of course Steve had put her to bed, of course he'd left her untouched. Bucky hated that Steve was such a good guy. If it'd been him to carry her up, he'd still be upstairs with his face settled between her thighs and his tongue deep in her while he treated her to a sweet, messy, drunken climax. Christ, his mouth watered at the thought.

"Well?" Steve did a fair impersonation of Colonel Phillips.

"Wasn't going to hurt her," he snapped defensively.

"You don't need to lay a hand on her to hurt her." The truth of it was that he'd come out of that nasty bout feeling a little raw himself.

"Girl's a nasty drunk."

"Yeah?" Steve didn't sound impressed, "Well, you're nasty sober. You want to go up against her to see who's going to win this dumb as Hell game? Can't tell you Buck, but I know who loses."

Bucky already felt like the clear loser. He's found the setup of his dreams and he wasn't wanted. She'd called him out as a killer, she knew he was a rude, selfish dick and he'd forced his way into bed with her just-

"And you can get that look off your face too," Steve cut in as he crossed the kitchen and slammed something tiny and pink onto the counter, "She wore these for you. Don't ask me why, since you're hellbent on screwin' this up."

Bucky wound the pretty silk around the hard metal of his prosthetic hand. Did she want him? He sure as Hell wanted her. "Aw, fuck."

"What?"

"Gonna have to apologise to her, aren't I?"

~*~

Darcy sat up in the bed and ran through a quick mental inventory.

Underwear? MIA.

Dignity? Quite possibly with underwear.

So she hadn't been that drunk and getting all up on Steve still seemed like a fabulous idea, except that he too was MIA. She still felt a little foggy, but managed to pull herself together enough to slip from the bed, locate a toilet, then shimmy on her skirt and top. She'd slept solidly for a couple of hours and it was getting close to midnight. Her achievements for the night weren't exactly all that she'd hoped for and leaving seemed like a great idea (and possibly the continuation of a disturbing trend). What had she managed to get out of the night?

Trying to seduce Captain America? Fail.

Trying to piss off an internationally renowned and feared assassin? A plus plus. High five, Lewis!

She snagged her shoes and her cardigan and tried to make a stealthy escape.

It was the groan that stopped her, had her turning around to find a door further down. A tiny bit of light escaped from where the door was ajar, but in the dark house that tiny bit of light was like a beacon. Another groan, this one low and needy.

She'd like to say she did the grown up thing and, suspecting that she knew exactly what was going on, saw herself out the front door and to a cab. Of course she wasn't an idiot, so she wasted, like, zero time setting her stuff down on the floor and sliding her prematurely hung-over arse up to peek into the room.

Darcy had always sort of hated those people that returned from holidays and wanted to share photos. There was nothing worse than some dick flipping through his Instagram and talking about the angle of the sun and the 'purity' of the moment. Which was probably why it was so fucking hilarious that she was ready to wax poetical ad nauseam about what she spied beyond the door. The single bedside lamp threw light across what had to be acres of pure man. They were sweat-slicked and straining, muscles and tendons drawn tight with exertion. There was nothing gentle about it. Steve was face down, knees drawn up to his chest while Bucky took him hard. It was fucking in its purest, roughest form and it was impossible to look away. She held her breath as her eyes desperately searched for and caught the way that Bucky's slick cock pulled back to the point of withdrawal, Steve's tight arse gripping at the fat head until he drove back in. It shouldn't have been hot, shouldn't have left her inner thighs soaked, but Jesus fuck it did. It had her slipping her hand between her knees and up her skirt, had her own arse heated in a peculiar mix of desire and sympathy as she watched Bucky pound Steve without mercy.

"Tell me what you need," Bucky's voice was rough and Darcy froze, fingers just shy of her pussy. Shame and fear caught her and, for a moment, she thought she'd been sprung.

But then Steve spoke, his voice muffled by the bedding. "Want to come in her," he muttered, his fist working furiously and out of sight between his knees.

"Mmm, and she's so close, isn't she? Just down the hall. Her sweet little pussy bare and ready and under our roof." Darcy's fingers finally made contact with the pussy in question, she bit her lip and tried to hide a whimper. "What else, tell me what else you need."

"Want to watch you," Steve rolled his spine as he answered.

Bucky's hips faltered, "Me?"

"Want to see you in her." Her fingers slipped lower, catching and pressing at her soaked entrance.

"Like this?" Bucky slammed his hips forward and Darcy felt it resonate within her.

"Yeah. Oh yeah. Want her to take us both. Same time. Give her a good God damn reason to stay," Darcy backed up, more than a little overwhelmed. Sure, she knew that Steve was just a guy, knew that guys liked a little dirty talk... But there she was listening in as Captain America outline just exactly what he'd like to do to her - with her - and she was having some serious issues accessing enough air to keep her upright.

The rough, gasping, brilliant sounds continued, even as she withdrew her hand from between her legs and smoothed down her skirt. She didn't start to really process things until she was standing barefoot and clutching a teetering pile of her stuff on the sidewalk.

What she'd seen in that room?

She wanted in. Badly. But even as that want gnawed at her, she realised that it was the last thing she could have. There she was, decrying Bucky as the worst sort of jerk and she was the interloper. The intruder to their passion. What they had together had just been laid bare before her and they could think that they wanted her, but what the Hell could she bring to the table?

Darcy waited for a cab to drive past, eager to get the fuck out of dodge. She wrapped her arms tight around her heels and wished desperately that the alcohol hadn't worn off so quickly. The mental image of them together would stay with her, rendered more faithfully and perfectly in her psyche than any shitty over-filtered holiday shot possibly could.

Probably for the best, since Instagram sort of frowned on that stuff anyway.

~*~

Bucky dialled Darcy and listened as the call rang out for the fifth time that morning. At the same time he watched a security feed of the lab, her phone began to jump and stutter at her elbow, she glanced down at it then flipped it face down and slid it away behind her laptop. He'd tried calling from both a private number and by fixing the number so that it came up as though Steve were calling her.

Cell phones, he decided, were one thing he could live without. It was hard to win over a woman when she wouldn't look him in the eye. The added step muddied the waters and he was the sort of guy who liked to put forward his case in person.

Not that he had much of a case. He needed to apologise, tell her his head was on straight. Tell her that he was ready to try, really try, to make something happen for them.

Possibly also grovel. If it came to that he would, he'd do anything to erase the hard lines that had framed Steve's mouth when he'd told him that she'd cut out in the middle of the night.

Darcy would see it as some sort of 180, even if he knew that nothing had changed. He'd always wanted her, always wanted to wind her up in the small fragile safe space that he and Steve had carved out for themselves. There was room for her... not just room, but a conspicuous place that seemed fashioned just for her.

Steve was probably halfway across the Atlantic. Pathetic timing, but SHIELD didn't really seem to give two shits about their personal lives (other than to actively discourage them from having any) and despots weren't known for their patience. The call came and Steve went, a mixed blessing maybe, because even Steve - with his nigh-endless patience - had been stiff and sharp as he'd shouldered his duffel and waited for his car.

"I know," Bucky had said quietly as they stood on the sidewalk, "I fucked things up for you."

"For both of us."

"I'll fix it."

There was a silence, long and wrong. "What if," Steve began as he passed a shaky hand over the back of his neck, "What if she saw us?"

He sounded like a kid who learned that Santa wasn't real, or worse, that he was real and they were both getting lumps of coal because they'd been bad boys. Bucky reached for him then, hooking his arm around his shoulders and tucking him in close. "I'm not going to tell you that what we are is loved the world over. It ain't. But I swear to you that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to her. She's your girl. Our girl."

"So she's 'ours' now?"

"Looks like."

"Then fix it."

And that was exactly what he planned to do, unfortunately Darcy Lewis was a master at screening her calls. Bucky redialled and watched as she picked up her phone once more and... dropped it into her desk drawer.

Fine. He'd go see her. He could do that.

~*~

He couldn't do it. Wasn't prepared to watch her in the club again, not now that things had shifted. Not now that he'd seen what she looked like, pinked up and panting in their bed. He knew from past experience where to sit, knew which areas she didn't work her way around to. The dark vinyl booth was recessed back into the wall, heavy drapes framing the alcove. The angle had proven shitty when she'd danced on the larger stage, but if he scooted to the side and craned his neck he had a clear enough view. Darcy was good at what she did, worked with what she had (and fuck, she had a lot). She stood apart from the others, the men that gravitated to her were smoother, tipped bigger and came alone. Louder groups of frat boys, stag parties and office lads crowded around the skimpy, glittery girls, the ones who looked more like they were instructing a gym class than seducing men.

He had to confess that he liked her style, liked that nothing fazed her, liked that she walked with loose hips and a crooked smile.

A lithe brunette set another double down in front of him, her eyes tracing the path of his gaze all the way to Darcy. "Back again? If that's your thing, Big Boy, you should sit closer. She's real friendly."

"How friendly?" He felt his gloved hand bite into the overstuffed vinyl next to his knee, his voice came out harder than he'd have liked.

"Not that friendly," she said as she propped her tray against her bare hip, a lace miniskirt doing very little to hide the pink thong and bra she wore. "Good dancer though, she'll get close, takes it all off too."

Bucky wasn't sure how it was possible for his cock to jump with excitement, even as his teeth ground with the effort of not dragging her from the club. "She's my girl," he said. More for himself than the waitress.

"Huh, hear that a lot. Can't remember her name, Cinnamon or Ruby or-"

"Darcy."

That knocked the smile off her face, "Look, man, I like you. You're a good tipper, polite, pretty as fuck, so I'll tell you something for nothing: don't get creepy. Don't stalk these girls, we got some big mean security guards and they hate when you guys get freaky. And that girl? She ain't for you, she's smart as Hell and she's not in this game for the long haul. She's here for the cash."

Bucky held his hands up, "I'm just here to drink."

She rolled her eyes as she muttered, "Like fuck. You're trouble, mister. Just don't go starting anything 'till my shift's done."

Bucky ignored her and settled back in to watch Darcy pet her sweet little pussy through a pair of red lace panties.

~*~

Diana and George came to the club every two weeks like clockwork. They'd shown up one night, politely asked that she entertain them for an hour and nervously smiled throughout the whole set, a wide gap between them. The second time they sat closer. They never asked for lap dances, but they did enjoy watching her touch herself. After several months Diana had happily explained that their time with Darcy was important to them, that they'd reached a point in their lives when they'd become exhausted by the the drive to 'play normal'. For them, their money was better spent on Darcy than it was at counselling. They knew what worked for them, what satisfied them.

Part of Darcy was never all that sure how she felt about being a real-life marital aid. In some ways it felt better to dance for them, almost like she was doing a good thing. She never doubted that they loved each other, really she was in awe of a relationship that had reached a level where it had been okay to give voice to their desires. That there hadn't been any fear about putting something 'out there' and having it hurled back in their faces.

Some raw little part of her wondered if that was what she was to the boys, their shared little kink. A novelty that they'd eventually grow tired of. She could almost convince herself that if that's all it was, it would be enough. It would have been a lie, but if there was satisfaction in the act - what did it matter if there was an almighty fallout?

It wasn't that what she'd seen between Steve and Bucky had scared her, it was how badly she'd wanted to be a part of it. Not a mild kink for her, but a desperate desire. And even if Bucky did want her - and she had to be skeptical of anything said by men with hard-ons - was it for himself, or for Steve?

"Distracted, honey?" Diana asked gently over the soft music that they favoured.

Darcy smiled guiltily, "Sorry, been a long couple of days."

"Don't be silly, just take your time. No rush."

They had a standing booking for the hour and Darcy's comfort level had grown with theirs. She switched the music to a little Paloma Faith, smoothed her hands over the red lace clinging to her curves and-

"What the Hell was that?" George was already getting up head turning as several people passed the door yelling.

"I got this," Darcy said as she slipped from the stage and snagged a ruffled black nightie, a sheer little thing she wore to transit the club. She popped her head out of the door in time to watch two large Maori security guards leg it toward the main area. One of the other dancers, Meagan, was quickly moving toward her, she caught Darcy around the shoulders and drove her back into the private room before slamming the door and leaning heavily against it.

Darcy narrowed her eyes. "What?"

"One of yours tearing up the place, drunk off his arse. Stay in here, it's safer," Meagan panted.

"One of mine?" Darcy had regulars, sure, but she couldn't see any of them starting any sort of shitstorm.

"Mr Tall, Dark and Fuck Me Now?"

Something fluttered in Darcy's gut. "Longish hair?"

"Yeah."

"Shit. I need a phone." Behind her, Diana shuffled through her purse before handing over her phone.

Darcy took it with a weak smile and dialled one of the few numbers she knew by heart (because a girl never knew when an irate Asgardian would make an appearance).

Barton picked up on the third ring, "You know, when I gave you my number Darcy, I expected you to call it a little sooner."

"I'm having a crisis," she said as she shoved Meagan aside and stepped into the corridor. "Asgardian, alien or amorous? Cause I can be suited up and ready to show you a good time in thirty minutes." Cute, but Darcy didn't have time to deal with Barton's special brand of banter.

"Gonna need you suited and spurred significantly quicker than that, because I've got the Winter Soldier tearing up a strip club downtown and I'm pretty sure they've already called the cops."

There was a pause as he spoke to someone on his end of the line, then he was back. "One day you'll ring me when you aren't in mortal danger, Darcy."

"Not today."

"Apparently not. Where are you?"

She rattled off the address of the club, then tucked the phone into her bra and ran toward the seat of the disturbance. She got to the main floor in time to see Bucky hauling one of the guards, Tiny, clear off his feet. The thing about a Tiny was that he wasn't. He was (give more than take) 6'3 and built like he could take down a stampede of raging wildebeest. Bucky, however, he didn't stand a chance against.

"Yo, Buck," she called as she jumped an overturned stool, ducked around one of the security guys and rushed up toward him. "Gotta put Tiny down, man."

She watched his forearm flex and his bleary eyes steal a moment of focus before he dropped Tiny. It seemed that Steve's immunity to alcohol was not a shared thing. Bucky swayed on his feet and Darcy leaped forward to fit herself against his side, hoping to prop him up a little. No mean feat considering that the combined weight of the man and his prosthetic had to be something near double her weight.

"Jus' wanted to know where you got to," he blinked down at her, "Private dances don't usually take so long. Don' like havin' you outta my sight. Not here."

"Why are you even here?" she snapped. But Bucky was busy fingering one of the ruffles that framed her cleavage. She reached up and grabbed his jaw in a bid for his attention. "James."

"Like that. S'good." He nodded to no one in particular. "Like hearing you say my name."

"You are a fucking menace," she griped as she struggled with his weight and eyed the security guys, who had regrouped and were approaching a little more cautiously. "It's fine. Fine." She called to them.

"This dipshit with you?" Cass, the manager, called from behind the bar where she had doubtlessly stashed some firepower.

Darcy heaved out as sigh and slid her eyes toward Bucky. "Kind of. Yeah. Yes, he's with me."

His heavy prosthetic hand stroked the back of her neck. She was saved from having to further define their relationship by the arrival of Clint and Natasha, whose eyes zeroed in on Bucky with a sharp sort of interest. They paused for a moment, flashing what had to be fake police identification, then stepping up to grab Bucky.

"Wasn't expecting it be you guys," Darcy said as they witnessed Bucky fight a losing battle to stay conscious.

"Some things are better kept in-house," Natasha explained as she left Clint to juggle the mass of floppy limbs and lax muscle. "Christ, did you tase him?"

Darcy dropped her gaze down to herself and indicated her scanty attire. "Not that many places I could stash a taser. He's just hammered."

"Hunh," Clint shrugged and Natasha seemed utterly unfazed.

Darcy narrowed her eyes at their complete lack of surprise, "Is there anyone at SHIELD who isn't aware of my second job?"

"Steve, maybe?" Another shrug from Clint.

"He knows," Darcy sighed as they started to make their way out of the club.

"Then, no, probably not. So... this," Clint jiggled Bucky as they approached the exit, "...is a thing? You guys have a thing?"

Darcy made a small, noncommittal noise in the back of her throat.

"Funny," Natasha was following them, close on Darcy's heels, "Because I could have sworn Steve said something about seeing you last night."

"Yup."

"And Bucky?" she asked as they made it out to the curb where a black, unmarked SUV was waiting.

"Mmhm."

"Steve and Bucky."

"Sort of." Darcy shifted uncomfortably on her feet. It was a street known for strip clubs and adult shops. But she still didn't feel adequately covered for the situation.

"You're either the dumbest, or luckiest woman I know," Natasha said as Clint struggled to wedge Bucky into a seat.

"Given the current circumstances? I'd go with dumbest."

"They're good guys. Mostly."

Clint finished buckling the seatbelt and turned back to Darcy. Darcy looked to where Bucky was flopped forward in his seat suspended by his seatbelt with his hair falling in a messy curtain around his face. He might be a good guy, but he'd just fucked up her night in a pretty fantastic way.

"Free lap dance?" Clint asked with a hopeful smile.

~*~

At seven, someone started pounding on her front door. Technically, it was her only door if you didn't count the sliding door that left the the ensuite of her 'loft' (which was a lovely way of saying 'bedsit'). By her estimation, Bucky would still be out cold and, according to Natasha, Steve would be out of town for a couple of days, so that narrowed down the field of potential callers quite significantly. Darcy slipped from her bed and dragged on a pair of track pants. She moved past the folding screen that differentiated the bedroom from the living area and cracked her front door. A scruffy suited young man with a harried look about him held up a phone and wiggled it. "Call for Miss Lewis."

Darcy narrowed her eyes, but reached past they chain on her door to grab the phone then shut the door again.

"Hello?"

"Darcy?" The line wasn't the best, but she could hear him well enough.

"Steve? Where are you?"

"It's classified."

There was a pause and just the hint of white noise as Darcy settled onto her sofa.

"The Ukraine. I'm... It's just work."

She realised once he said it that it didn't matter where he was, but she appreciated his faith all the same. "So last night..."

"What's the damage?"

"Couple grand of damages and if there's a God, Bucky better be nursing one helluva hangover."

"I meant for you."

"Ugh," her head dropped back against the sofa, "Well, I got my arse fired, they're taking my wages owing for damages. Club has pretty strict rules about boyfriends coming around."

Another pause from Steve as he processed that, "And... and that's what he is?"

"Well I either claimed him or they'd press charges."

"That's it?" He didn't even try to drop the hopeful note from his voice.

"At this point in time, I'm thinking that my goodwill toward him is pretty much tapped out."

The line cracked a little, then Steve's voice was back mid-sentence, "-night you left. It's killing me."

"Wait, what? Are you in danger? Is something killing you? I'm losing you Steve."

"Just wanted you to know that-"

More disturbance, then the line came back in and Darcy heard-

"Are those gunshots?"

"Uh."

"Steve? Steve!"

"Gotta go, be home soon, Darce." He hesitated. "Miss you."

Then the line cut out.

Fucking brilliant.

Well, if he expected her to wait around agonising about what was going to come next in their train-wreck of an affair, he had some news coming. She got up and yanked open her front door, thrusting her arm out to return the phone to the waiting agent.

"Yours to keep, Miss Lewis. Also," he handed over a bulky Manila envelope, "Keys to Captain Roger's apartment."

"How'd you get sent on this errand?"

"Rogers asks for a favour, you don't say no," he sighed as he turned away, "This was not in the recruiting brochure."

The cab ride to the apartment was probably a luxury she couldn't afford, especially since she was newly unemployed (at least as far as jobs that paid respectably went), but she was still burning up over what had happened at the club and she wanted to set some things straight while she still had a good head of steam behind her. She dumped her bag in the downstairs lobby and detoured via the kitchen to grab two bottles of water and a pack of aspirin. Somewhere in the back of her mind was the vague notion that she could be civil, be calm and collected as she handed Bucky his own arse.

And yet she still ended up standing at the threshold to Bucky's room, eyes squinting and trying to make out his form in the bed. Heavy drapes killed the bulk of the light in the room, but he was there, curled onto his side, breathing steadily.

Darcy would swear on a bible in a court of law that what followed was involuntary. The first bottle of water sailed across the room and landed near his head. His bionic arm came up - seemingly without any conscious thought from Bucky - and caught the second, crushing it and causing a rather satisfying explosion of water. A framed picture followed, then two shoes and it wasn't until she unscrewed the bottle of aspirin and began hurling them at him individually that she started to calm down a little.

"Yo, jerkface. We need to talk."

Bucky sat up in the bed and turned on the beside lamp. He blinked a few times in the soft flood of light, wiped a hand over his wet face and then tried to shake loose a little water from his hair, it dripped down over his shoulders and bare chest and Darcy felt a little of her righteousness subside when she sighted his bloody split lip.

"You know," she muttered as she crossed the room and climbed up unto the bed, "I never asked you to come looking for me. Never asked for any of this crap." She tugged on the sleeve of her Henley and leaned forward to dab at his mouth. Satisfied that it wasn't a mortal wound, she scooted back to the foot of the bed, just out of his reach, and pulled her knees up to her chest. "Not that I'm not grateful for you lining me up with Steve, because I am. He's better than anything I deserve, but I'm the kind of girl who likes to push her luck and I..."

"What?" His voice was rough, his face rougher still. He was stuck somewhere between homeless dude and sex god and the confusion wasn't sitting well with her. Nobody wore unkempt like Bucky but she could do without the stale vodka and sweat... and she wasn't even going to mention the morning breath. She wasn't even sure that all those things combined were enough to stop her humiliating herself, so she just gripped her knees tighter and focused on the pattern of the bedspread.

"This whole thing was sold to me as... well, a threesome."

"Polyamorous," Bucky supplied as he pinched the bridge of his nose, "Steve didn't like the implication that it was just for the sex, he Googled a better term."

"Call it what you want, it's still a non-event. I'm probably going to hate myself when you say no, but here's the deal: both of you or not at all. I won't be the thing that comes between the two of you."

He came up on his knees then, reaching for her as he shook his head. "No, no it's not like that. Want you with us, not between. Unless were talking sexual logistics because, Honey, that's exactly where we want you."

"But you..."

He took her hand and dragged her closer, the sheet slipped low on his waist and they ended up with Darcy half sprawled across his chest. "I got problems where you're concerned, Darce. Been watching you for so long I was half gone on you before you even set eyes on me."

"You don't even know me..."

"Know the way you walk, know the way you throw yourself between jerks and the girls at the club. I know how you care about Foster, know that you go twenty minutes out of your way on the Subway to buy Banner's favourite tea. I know enough to start."

"Then what's your problem?"

His chest rose, lifting her a little as he drew in a shallow breath. "Saw you look at Steve each time you crossed paths, saw him look at you. Figured it was either my worst nightmare, or everything I'd ever wanted and never deserved being dropped into my lap. Only you didn't see me, I was just furniture."

"Bullsh-"

His eyebrow kicked up and weary little lines bracketed his mouth, "How many times did we meet before that night at the club?"

"I don't know, three?"

"Six. I don't blame you for not seeing me, sometimes I can't get around Steve's glow either."

Darcy winced at his words, but he just gave her a pained sort of smile as he reached for her hips and moved her until she was straddling him, staring down. "You got me fired."

"Yeah, I'll lose sleep over that."

She flicked the tip of his nose then reached down to trace the angry welt where his flesh met his prosthetic arm. He seemed to arch up into her touch so she stroked a little more boldly, learning the dip where his shoulder ended. There was something safe about the dark of the room as if they were free to speak clearly in that small pocket of warmth, scented with sleep and vice and Steve. "Touch me?" She asked and he wasted no time darting his hand up her shirt. Darcy was quick to stop him, grabbing his wrist as his fingertips brushed across her soft belly. "The other one."

He shut his eyes and grunted, but he did exactly as she asked. The fluid and mobile plates of his hand warm and careful as he slipped beneath the hem of her shirt. "How does it feel?" She asked as she slipped her own hand over his and tugged him up toward the soft lace cup of her bra.

"Perfect."

"What's it like?"

"Like I said: per-"

"No, I mean for you."

He gave a lame little shrug as her fingertips explored the back of his hand. "Different. It picks up pressure, hot and cold... Had it so long now that it all sort of adds up to sensation in my head."

Warm metal traced the lace edge of her bra and even in the dim light of the room she could see his eyes glaze over, she rocked her hips a little and the seam of her jeans moved against her. It felt good, would feel even better without the jeans but...

"Where are you going?" Bucky's hand clamped down on her hips as she tried to shift.

"Work."

"You got fired." Really, he could try and sound a little upset on her behalf.

"To my other job, the one that pays in goodwill and loose change."

He came up onto his elbows as she scrambled from the bed, "You mean I don't get laid now?"

"I'm still mad and you desperately need a shower."

"You're killing me, Doll. How about a kiss?"

Darcy grabbed his prosthetic hand and turned it over, she dropped a quick peck into the palm then hauled arse before she lost any of the ground that they'd just gained.

~*~

Bucky was at the tail end of a long overdue haircut and hot shave when the call came in for him to take point on a short notice job. He didn't waste time getting there, not when he found out where the job was. Banner's labs were attached to a small administration section, the building was an outlier from the main SHIELD assets. Mostly because when Banner's research went wrong, lives were ruined. Also because the geographical detachment gave Banner and his cohort of scientists the illusion of autonomy and there weren't many people who weren't behind any idea that made Banner happy.

For anyone looking for a foothold into the seemingly impenetrable world of SHIELD, the labs had to seem like an obvious target. It was hardly shocking that one enterprising (though soon to be decimated, if Bucky had his way) group of private intelligence gatherers had identified the labs as the perfect place to take hostages. Bucky was kicking himself for not realising it sooner. He'd dropped the ball and now Darcy was going the pay the price.

"What do they want?" He asked as he loosely slung a Kalashnikov over his shoulder.

"Cap's whereabouts," the Intel Analyst explained, "They're killing a hostage every fifteen minutes. Starting at the bottom with secretaries, assistants. Grunts. Two dead so far."

Bucky sneered at that, his arm shooting out to grab the agent and drag him in closer, "And when does the clock kick over for the next hostage?"

"Six minutes."

"Then I'm in," Bucky dropped him and turned toward the parking garage.

"The team isn't ready yet."

"Too bad, 'cause I am."

~*~

Darcy was pretty sure that Natasha or Clint were going to come busting down doors at any second. But they were well past due because, yo, people were dying and that shit had gotten old real quick.

"You, with the mouth." Darcy heard the summons and resolutely tried to pretend that they could be talking to anyone else. Which, y'know, was unlikely. Jane's hand gripped a little more tightly at the back of her shirt and Darcy sighed.

Should have stayed in bed with Bucky.

"Hey!" He was six foot plus with dirty blonde hair and a get-up that would have made him a prime candidate for an NRA poster boy. "You by the desk, get over here."

Darcy grimaced and gave Jane's knee a gentle pat before getting up to her feet. The thug summoning her yanked her forward by the wrist and sent her sprawling toward a stationery cupboard. Jane's cry of outrage was lost as his breath came hot and close against her neck. "Every played Seven Minutes in Heaven, honey? Well, you only got six left but we'll just have to make do."

"What are we going to do with the other five?" Darcy muttered as he jabbed her between the shoulders with his handgun to manoeuvre her into the closet. Her bravado was shattered pretty quickly as his sweaty fingertips dug into her neck and smacked her face forward into the door. If the door hadn't already been half open, she'd have passed out for sure. As it was her eyes watered, her glasses cracked and gouged one side of her cheek and her nose began an impressive downpour of blood. Far from being put off by the blood and borderline crying (she'd cry, okay? She was about to die. Crying was perfectly fine) his eyes seemed to sharpen and his bulk shifted forward eagerly at the sight of her distress.

Ugh. Even through her mounting fear, Darcy realised that she was going to have to go down swinging. Because scum like that? Needed to meet very messy ends. The door to the closet swung shut, leaving them in darkness. Darcy remained vaguely aware of Jane's screaming her name from the office floor and hoped that she'd cut that shit out before she brought any unwanted attention down on herself.

"Let's hope," he murmured as he holstered his handgun, "that no one ponies up with that information in the next few minutes. Cause I have a feeling that this is going to be f-"

It wasn't that the struggle that caught him off guard, she didn't have anything near his body mass, what did do the job was that guys like him were accustomed to terrifying women, to feeling them struggle and pull away. So when Darcy launched herself at him, effectively fusing their centres of gravity together, they both went down like a sack of shit. They scrambled in the small space, bull clips, paper and folders raining down around them. A short volley of gunshots tore through the small space and Darcy's fear notched up a level. Maybe he hadn't holstered his gun? Maybe she was already shot through and she was unable to determine which of her collection of aches and pains was the mortal wound. Maybe -

Maybe she was suffering a head trauma because - Jesus fucking Christ - an arm had just punched through the plywood door, plucked her assailant clear from her body and hauled him backward through the door.

Darcy blinked up into the flood of light. It was Bucky and, really, the whole reaching through doors should have been a dead giveaway. He barely looked her, didn't even seem to recognise her. Instead, he was breathing hard as he dropped the body of Mr Seven Minutes (in Hell) at his feet. Darcy eyed the body, noted the peculiar angle of his neck then scrambled up to her feet. Her head swam and she reached out to steady herself on a shelf as she gingerly wiped her sleeve over her top lip.

Bucky jabbed one stiff metal finger at her. "Don't. Fuckin'. Move."

She dropped down onto her arse and crossed her legs. Don't need to be told twice.

Beyond the body, which she was attempting to keep just beyond the edge of her field of vision, she could see the spent chaos of the office floor. A tactical team was sweeping in, losing momentum as they moved along inspecting felled villains and clearing potential hidey holes. Her fellow hostages huddled low and together, a little paler for whatever they'd witnessed when Bucky had passed through. For the most part people were reluctant to move until told to do so, but Jane didn't hesitate to scurry across the floor and dive into the closet with Darcy.

"Am I gonna live, Doc?"

"Not that kind of doctor." Jane rooted around in a box and produced a handful of unused cleaning cloths, she dabbed gently at Darcy's face.

"What happened out there?" Darcy asked with a nod to the office floor.

"What happened in here?" Jane countered.

Darcy tried - and failed - to pass off a careless shrug as she reached for a pack of tape to patch up her glasses. Jane sighed heavily, dropped down next to Darcy and wrapped an arm about her shoulders. "I'm not even sure what happened," she began, "He morphed out of the walls, Terminator style. One minute the bad guys have everything stitched up, the next they're just bodies on the floor and he's yanking people up by the hair asking where you are. It wasn't pretty."

Nothing about the situation was pretty, two people - more - were dead and her mind was running a constant loop of 'I could have stopped this'. It took just shy of thirty minutes to clear things up. That was the problem with life and death scenarios, they started out all 'go, go, go' then just sort of fizzled out as they waited for the blood puddles and 'wet floor' signs to get cleared away.

"Where's Bucky?" she asked, her voice a little more whiny than she'd have liked, as a persistent agent tried to swaddle her in blankets and usher her outside toward an ambulance.

"She means Agent Barnes," Jane added as they trailed after them.

Darcy wasn't going to wait for assistance in finding him (because, what? Like she expected the agent to just go 'Oh, our secret military weapon is just over that way, ma'am'?). Instead she dumped her collection of blankets on a barricade, clumsily swung her leg over it and moved away from the ambulances toward a bank of black SUV's and armoured trucks. Her keeper made a lunge for her, but behind him Jane threw up her hands then fell into a rather Vaudevillian swoon and announced that she was beset with shock. The poor guy seemed torn, but when faced with an injured but largely unknown assistant and muthafuckin' Thor's girlfriend he made a call and it didn't involve Darcy.

It was hard to neaten herself up with her Henley plastered to her chest with blood and her complexion less English Rose and a little more Glo Stick Yellow, but she did her best to crunch the dried blood out of the ends of her hair and straighten her shabbily repaired glasses. Bucky was holding court between two custom trucks, voice low, face barely moving but malice evident in every line of his body as he addressed the building's usual security detail. She caught phrases like 'response time' and 'gross negligence' and rolled her eyes. Orville from the front desk was sixty and planning to retire to Auckland, hardly the sort of guy who could reasonably be expected to take down the kind of guys who'd lain siege to the labs.

"Heeeyyyyy guys," Darcy waved to the team, then sidled up to Bucky. "Busy day?"

As jokes went it kind of fell flat, then started digging. Bucky turned to her with a blank face as he caught her around the upper arm and just sort of hauled her along toward the bank of ambulances. She was fairly certain that her feet even managed to leave the ground a couple of times. He thrust her at a band of waiting paramedics, but she simply doubled back and reached for him, her fingers coming up to run through the newly cut sweat-damp hair at the nape of his neck. Something shifted behind his eyes at the contact, a filter shattered and it was like he was finally able to see her.

"Seriously, I'm fine. It could have been worse."

"Not a compelling argument when you're choking down your own blood, Darcy." He grabbed her hand and returned it to her side, then softly said, "Not here."

Whatever. Darcy turned her back to Bucky and fixed the advancing paramedic with a hard look. "Keep that blanket to yourself, dude," she snapped as Jane continued to wail unconvincingly in the back of the next ambulance.

~*~

She looked so tiny as she shuffled up the front steps to their place. The borrowed jacket dwarfed her and she moved with a caution that spoke of far too many aches and pains. Bucky's ride pulled alongside the curb and he was bounding up the stairs past her to open the door.

He didn't need to ask how things had gone at the hospital, the debrief had covered the worst of the casualties and Darcy had topped that list. Nothing broken, except maybe the tenuous grasp he had on his sanity. That door would long hold court with the myriad of horrors in his mind. Beige paint and just the smallest smear of blood... and for the briefest second she'd been behind that door, surely dead and undoubtedly beyond his reach.

But she wasn't. Not dead and sure as Hell not out of his reach. Bucky turned back and wrapped an arm around her waist, he lifted her clear off her feet and her legs came up to wrap around him as she let out an alarmed squeak. Once inside he took the stairs two at a time and didn't slow until she was perched on the vanity of his bathroom. He carefully removed her busted glasses, then peeled away her clothes methodically, a little hazy on an overall plan, but very determined to erase the blood and trauma from her skin.

"Hey Buck," she said with a soft smile as she reached for his prosthetic hand, but he wasn't having it. Wasn't touching her with a weapon anymore than he needed to. Didn't matter how she felt on the subject. He'd never liked the idea of loosing the base creature that lived in him, never much liked the idea of people seeing him stripped down to his most basic - and lethal - function. It seemed so much more awful that just hours after marvelling over the make and feel of his foreign limb, when even he had merrily bought into the fiction that she could crave his mechanical touch, she had witnessed him at his worst... even as he did what he did best.

"You're quite the nursemaid," she noted as she came up on her toes and let him drag her jeans down.

"Patched Steve up a few times, back when he needed it." He balled up her jeans and tossed them at the laundry hamper, then crossed the bathroom and started up the shower. He was quick about losing his own jacket, shirt and boots, only venturing back toward her when he was satisfied with the temperature of the shower.

"You going to lose the pants, Barnes?" She asked with a mock leer as she hooked her thumbs into her panties and dragged them down.

Yeah, because she needed him poking her with an obnoxious and persistent erection just hours after a near death experience. As it was, he felt like a thousand kinds of jerk because of the way his eyes drew low to the bare flesh between her thighs. It made sense that she'd be okay with nudity, sometimes he had to remind himself how bold the world had become. Darcy represented the best of that, the best of everything that was new and brave. She had none of Steve's tarnished gold about her, instead he liked to imagine her as a fathomless and multi-faceted sort of ruby, light bounding endlessly around inside of her, tinted with violent colour.

Christ, he was turning into a fuckin' poet.

"Shower," he jabbed a thumb over his shoulder and, for once, she obeyed without question. Sort of. Just shy of the shower she paused, her back to him. His eyes followed each curve, lingered on details. Bruises, the perfect indents framing her spine just above her arse, the fading red marks left by the elastic of her underwear.

"Bra," she prompted with a stiff wiggle of the shoulders.

"You got a knack for finding a man's weakness, Lewis," he noted as his fingers reached out to assist. He might have been a master assassin, but few men had mastered the astounding art of single-handedly undoing bras. He made quick work of it, kept it business-like. Not Darcy, though. He tried to snap his metal hand away as soon as possible, but she was expecting it. She caught his hand, drew it up and around to cup her breast. His flesh and bone hand could only mirror what the other was doing. She felt right in his hands, weighted perfectly, supple and full. Without prompting (lie) his prosthetic hand flexed, testing the softness of her breast.

Confident that she had a captive supplicant in him, she finally continued into the shower. "It can get wet, right?" She asked as she pinged one nail against his wrist.

"Yeah," he answered as he followed her into the spray.

"Good to know."

It physically pained him to remove his hands from her, but even if she lacked the good sense to distance herself from a weapon built to kill, he knew better.

"I thought we put that to bed this morning," she sighed as she turned her back to him and dipped her head into the water. He reached for his own shampoo, a little embarrassed that he didn't have anything more luxe than the first thing he'd spotted on the shelf at the chemist. Still, she purred beneath his (real) hand as he applied it to her hair. He hoped to God she didn't notice how much the lather was pinking up, how much blood was in it.

"Use both hands?" she asked.

"Hair gets stuck. Learned the hard way, kid."

"That sucks. Ever tried getting off with it?"

He fumbled the shampoo then, dropping it and just kicking it into the corner of the shower. "Can't say I have, why?" Not that he gave her a chance to answer as he pressed her head forward to rinse her hair. After a few seconds she flailed and he pulled her back.

"Having some nose breathing issues," she said as she pointed to the light pink streams still staining her upper lip. With the blood fading from her face and neck she looked so much better, he felt a little of his own tension ease as he turned her to face him and reached for his body wash.

"Smells like Steve," she observed with a crooked smile.

"Twofer deal, I think." He was impressed that he could even choke out that much as he watched her lather up her breasts. Slim pale fingers swept across lush flesh, kneading and plucking. She lingered there for an age rubbing and... "They're clean."

Her crooked grin gave her away. "I was having fun."

That made one of them. Bucky was up against a critical shortage of blood to the head (well, to the one that mattered) and she was hellbent on making things harder... worse than they needed to be. "Tease."

"I don't think that word means what you think that word means. You can have me any which way you please... on one condition."

Not that he cared, because his aim was to get her bathed and put to bed, but he couldn't help himself. "Condition?"

"Consider it more a favour... to yourself."

Bucky shifted uneasily, his wet cargo pants sticking to him uncomfortably as she rinsed herself off. "Yeah?"

"Let me show you that your hand can do some good. A weapon is only as dangerous as the person who wields it and you'd never hurt me. Not like that."

But probably in a thousand other ways.

"I won't force you," she said as she held her hand out for his.

That was all it really took, the idea that he could make the choice to be used for good. That something positive could happen by his hand... Her hand was so much smaller than his, but she still managed to line their fingertips up. They both watched at his hand responded to her touch, the tiny articulated plates whirring and shifting as they closed rank and shuttered into a smoother finish. On some level he knew that it was his own conscious doing, but he liked the idea that his arm was harmless against her, just a pet responding to her warmth. She grabbed his index finger and pulled it forward, touching it her her sternum and inching it down, leading him down over the slight curve of her stomach to the bare skin just above her pussy. The prosthetic hand fed him details, told him about the uniformity of her skin, told him just how much give there was there, told him she was just cooler than the water falling around them. The information added up to softness in his mind, but he still felt the need to reach out with his real hand and pet at the indent at the top of her slit with his thumb.

There was a slight 'tink, tink, tink' as her nails ran over the ridged plates of his bicep.

"I feel the overwhelming urge to make a 'ribbed for her pleasure' joke," she said with a lopsided grin before dropping her forehead against his chest and planting a small kiss just to the side of his nipple. His pec gave an involuntary jump as he wrapped his arm around her, grabbing her arse and hauled her forward onto her toes.

"Please don't," he croaked as he pressed one finger between the lips of her pussy, seeking her clit. "Are you wet?" he asked, unable to tell with his metal hand.

"Soaked," she murmured as she traced circles around his nipple with her tongue.

They both groaned. Bucky began a slow pattern of advance and retreat as he dragged the ridges of his finger back and forward over hot slick flesh. It occurred to him - perhaps a little late - that it didn't matter how he touched her, just as long as he got to touch her.

Darcy didn't come quickly, she made him work for it and that was fine by him. He was okay with anything that kept her wet and plastered against him, crawling all up on him like she wanted him, bucking her hips and riding his fingers like she needed him. She moaned a low 'yesss' when he finally twisted his wrist and slipped a thick finger into her while strumming her clit with his thumb. He felt the small, but growing, tremors - something he couldn't have sensed with his real hand - as her breath became shallow and she came clawing at his shoulders.

He held her then, reaching out to lower the shower temperature just a bit as she peppered breathy, artless kisses over his chest. Over his heart.

Bucky opened the door to the shower and stepped out just enough to snag a towel (and drip all over the floor). He ushered Darcy gently out of the shower and pressed the towel into her hands as he nodded toward the door. "Think Natasha has some toiletries stashed in the guest bathroom down the hall."

Tiny lines formed on her brow as she turned back to see him reaching for the top button of his combat pants. Sue him. He was beyond hard and doubted he'd be able to make it through the night without pawing her if he didn't get it out of his system then and there. As it stood, he wasn't even sure he'd even need to touch his cock to get off at that point, he was beyond ready.

"I could stay," she said, "get some bruises on my knees to match the rest..."

It was the last thing she needed, no matter how much he wanted it. He made a point of shutting the shower door, then turned his back to her as he dropped trou.

~*~

Darcy was in the process of removing a grilled cheese sandwich from the grill when she heard heavy footfalls on the stairs, coupled with a torrid stream of Russian. The front door opened, a few moments passed, then it was forcefully slammed shut. She shut the grill shut with a little more force than necessary and took her sweet-arse time cutting up her snack and arranging it on a plate. When she was done she looked toward the doorway where Bucky stood, wrapped only in a woefully inadequate towel as he dripped onto the tiles.

"Don't look at me like that," she said as she waved the knife around, "I made enough for two."

"Thought you'd run. Again." He padded up to the island in the kitchen, eyes never leaving Darcy.

She tugged at the running shirt she'd stolen from Steve's wardrobe (seriously, had the guy cut an endorsement deal with Under Armour?) it was a little snug in the chest and hips, but it was long enough to cover all the important parts. "You go outside like that?" She asked with a nod to the towel. It gaped over one thigh and did nothing to hide that he was still half hard. "There goes the neighbourhood..." she muttered as she perched on a stool.

"Everything a joke to you, Darcy?" his voice was strained as he moved around to wrap an arm around her shoulders and pull her back against his chest. "Don't much like you disappearing."

She rolled her eyes as she spoke around a mouthful of toast, "Then stop making me leave, numb nuts."

"Truce?" he asked as his hand dropped down into the neck of her shirt and snatched some of her grilled cheese with the other.

"Hate to make a promise I can't keep, but I'm happy to try." She rolled her spine as his hand found her breast. "Now if you'd just keep that up a little..."

"Doll, it's two a.m. even I need sleep."

Darcy made a noise of disgust and tossed down the crust of her sandwich, she left the clean-up for morning and led Bucky upstairs. Yeah, okay, so she wasn't above making him suffer just a bit and she made a point of going ahead of him so that he was crystal clear on her underwear situation (or lack thereof).

"You're killin' me, kid. You're going to have to start behaving, our boy sent me a message while I was in the shower. He's catching his flight home in a couple of hours."

Behave for Steve? Behaving wasn't the first thing she had planned when she finally had them both available and willing in the same location. "That's like a nine hour flight with a layover, yeah?"

Bucky faltered as they reached the landing, he grabbed her wrist and whipped her back around to face him. "Say that again?"

"Uh... nine hour flight, of his layover is short, from Kiev to he-"

Bucky groaned and swiped his hand across his face. "You knew? That whole fuckin' time you knew exactly where he was and you said nothing. People died, Darcy. You nearly died..." Like she needed him to explain how shitty her day had been? She yanked her wrist back. She made her choices. They were selfish, shitty choices but she'd made them and -

"I'd do the same thing tomorrow," she snapped, "And the day after that. Steve... you can save the world a thousand fucking times over for all I care. That's your thing. This? Looking after him? That's my job. The world can have his stupid mask, I'm looking out for him."

There was a split second there as Darcy watched Bukcy press his lips together and puff his cheeks out, as if he'd very much like to argue with her. Good luck, Dude. Then, at he very last moment, he snorted, snatched the front of her shirt and pulled her in for a hard quick kiss before setting her back on her feet, turning her around and nudging her toward the bedroom. "Poor Steve, he has no idea he's sweet on the two biggest idiots in town."

"Oh, I think he has a rough idea..."

~*~

There were worse ways to wake up, Bucky decided as Darcy's compact form settled across his abdomen and she flicked the tip of his nose. He could have done without the flicking, but then he opened his eyes and was greeted with an abundance of breast and suddenly all was just peachy. Darcy looked down at him, a study in curves, and he could have wept that Steve was missing it.

She bounced a little as she straddled him and he trapped her hips with his hands as he drank in her lush tits. She'd lost the shirt in the night and he was hard pushed to be sad about that, the side of one full breast was marked with the familiar pattern of the linked plates that stretched across his bicep. Some time throughout the night she'd cozied up to him enough for his arm to mark her, he cupped her breast and traced his thumb over the jagged mark there.

"Proof positive that the Winter a Soldier is a snuggler," Darcy grinned as she rocked back just a little, the curve of her arse brushing his rapidly rousing dick.

"Was I heavy?" Because the last thing she needed was to be crowded in just hours after the previous days' debacle. Bucky frowned as he gently prodded just below the small cut on her cheek. Even her eyes seemed a little darker, smudgy bruises marring her usually pristine skin. But the leer was still there, the light teasing, coupled with a cocked eyebrow as she flicked his nose again.

"I'm losing you dude, what's a gal got to do to get despoiled around here?"

Bucky couldn't contain the short laugh that slipped from his throat, it was both a new and old sensation, a return to cosy moments with beautiful women and Steve somewhere in the wings... but everything felt so much better, especially knowing that Steve wasn't going to be dwelling in the wings this time.

"C'mon, Punk," Darcy was leaning forward, pressing her breasts to his chest as she did her best Bacall impersonation, "I don't wake up at dawn for just anything." She wiggled her hips again, her soft thighs gripping his hips through the sheets, and he had to admit that he was starting to feel pretty perky himself.

Still, there was one final thing he needed to get out in the open before Steve came home... "Darce, the night you came over for dinner..."

"Ugh," she screwed up her nose and sprawled her palm across his face, "You were a dick. I was a dick. Mostly you, though. Can we just leave it?"

"Sure. Once you tell me why you ran when you saw me with Steve."

She shot up and he had to tighten his hands on her hips to keep her in place. There was guilt on her face and Darcy - wanton, shameless Darcy - actually blushed. "You knew?"

"Heard you. Sure did hang around for a while." She pressed a hand over her eyes and groaned softly. "Better start talking, kid. You got Steve panicking that you didn't like it, thinking he's got you all wrong."

"You know that's not it. Of course I... Nobody wants to be the third wheel, Bucky."

"You got ears, Darcy." He bucked his hips a little, shook her. "Did it sound like you weren't wanted?"

"Uh, no. Sounded like..."

"Like?"

"Like a national icon wanted to double team me with someone who is still running a Red Notice with Interpol."

"Still, huh?" Bucky shrugged it off, he had more important things on hand. In hand. Also: "Can we never use the term 'double team' in front of Steve? I've already deleted his Urban Dictionary App twice, he gets worked up about these things."

The levity In his voice didn't seem to do anything to help chip at the worry on her face. "You seemed... complete together. I watched and I wanted in, but... well, that's not my place, is it? I'm the sidekick, comic relief... or... a novelty act. I'm not a keeper."

Something heavy settled on his chest as he realised his mistake. It was the same mistake he'd made with Steve all those years ago, the mistake whereby he blustered his way through the important stuff, where the cues and signs were missed and the things he should have said... weren't. "There was a while there Steve thought the same thing. There are people, this very day, that'll put a hand to the Bible and tell you I ain't worth keeping. You don't get to say who keeps you, Doll. You find your place, you sit yourself down and if it feels right, you just stay."

It was great advice, even if it wasn't how it'd played out for him. He made it sound easy, wanted it to be easy for her in a way that it hadn't for Steve and him.

Bucky wanted to kiss her then, not the hard, necessary kiss he'd been unable to contain the night before (despite all intentions of keeping his damn hands to himself). He wanted to drag her down and slowly coax her lips open with his, wanted to dispel all doubt with only the force of his will conveyed through a mouth that couldn't say the right things, but might just be able to make up for the failing in action. He wanted to lick up into her mouth, cut his lips on her teeth and forget how to breathe. Maybe even steal the sharp little barbs from her tongue, greedily keeping them for himself, because he loved her wicked jabs and dry jokes. He wanted to suck on her tongue as if he were a green and untried boy... he wanted to go back to being a green and untried boy for her, for Steve too... Because being a jittery youth had to beat being a honed machine.

But he was frozen, looking up at her, eyes wide and willing her to buy what he was selling. Willing her to just take what they were offering and... Christ. Steve would know what to say. Bucky had made inroads with pleading their case. Now Steve needed to block off any possible retreat.

"Good thing I don't fly commercial these days, huh?"

Bucky and Darcy tightened their grip on each other at the sound of Steve's voice as he dumped his duffle by the door and and hovered by the doorway. Neither gave a shit about being found naked or arranged as they were, but they both seemed vaguely terrified at the thought that their BS and bluster couldn't hide their anxiety from Steve.

"Your boy is dragging arse about bedding me."

Steve shoved his hands in his pockets and swept a speculative gaze over them, "And what an overwhelming show of restraint it is."

Bucky needed Steve's deadpan delivery about as much as he needed an all-expenses paid trans-Siberian rail holiday. He'd been sweating bullets trying to keep Darcy at bay, trying to do right by her...

"Lose the gear," Darcy said as she held out a hand for Steve, "And let's see if we can't mount a convincing two-pronged campaign to get Barnes to give it up."

"No more mounting," Bucky snapped as Darcy reached behind her to pull down the sheet separating them. He made a grab for the sheet, stopping it just at his hips. It wasn't like he was saying 'no', it was simply that for all of Darcy's sweet persuasion, they still hadn't reached an understanding about where they stood, about what was actually happening. He didn't need her commitment - even if he wanted it - but he did need to know that they were in accord. He reached up, warm metal curling oh-so-gently around her neck as he pulled her down. "C'mon, Lewis. No third wheels here."

He waited for a pause, for some hesitation. Instead, there was only movement as Darcy dropped her mouth to his and conveyed a world of assent with a kiss.

~*~

For Steve, it was like watching two alley cats size each other up. He wasn't entirely sure if they were going to tear strips off one another or do something far more cordial. For the briefest moment he wondered if he should leave. He'd satisfied his need to see Darcy unharmed, now maybe it was time to bow out and-

Darcy dropped her mouth to Bucky's and his body damn near jackknifed up in response as he returned the kiss with vigour. Steve should have felt excluded, but there were Darcy's fingers wiggling behind her back in his vague direction. He was being summoned and he was powerless to disobey... not that he'd even considered it.

It was Bucky he touched first, his fingers lancing through his cropped hair as he remembered the young men that they were. It was comforting to remember that the boys they were aren't lost, but firmly entrenched in who they are.

His eyes traced over the curves of Darcy's shoulders and the rolling slopes of her hips and arse. Bucky might have been the one to broaden his sexual scope, but he needed no help in imagining what he'd like to do with and to his lovers. Long discarded - but not forgotten - charcoal sketches and recently sighted online clips came to mind as heat flushed his face. He knew exactly what he wanted and if he stuttered and tried to skirt certain words as he asked, what did it matter? The only thing that mattered was that eventually Darcy drew back from the kiss with a nervous nod of consent and Bucky just eyed him with a heated mixture of pride and want.

He lost a bit of ground after that when he just sort of stood there shuffling from foot to foot and tucking his thumbs into his pockets as he waited for Darcy's move. It seemed important that she drive some of it. It hadn't been an easy few days for her - for any of them - her skin still bore the slight scrapes and bruises of the day before and he had to remind himself that the violence that was so commonplace for Bucky and him was not a part of her life. He wanted her to understand that the oversight that had put her in such danger would never happen again, that being with them posed no threat to her safety.

But he was no liar and beautiful, wicked Darcy was no idiot.

He dropped out of the moment then, his mind replaying falls and tumbles and losses...

"What's up, Steve? Cold feet?" Darcy's fingers slipped behind his belt buckle and he realised he'd been frowning down at her. "I'm going to start doubting my allure if you look at me like that." She tugged gently, bringing him forward until his knees bumped against the edge of the bed and he had a perfect vantage of the way Darcy was straddling Bucky. She'd bunched her toes in the sheet, coaxing it down to bare him. As she subtly rocked against Bucky, Steve could see the peek-a-boo of her pretty pussy pressed against the ridges of his abdomen. She'd be hot, wet too. A night in Bucky's bed and a morning of prolonged foreplay had her all worked up, Bucky too by the looks of things, and while Steve was still fully dressed, he didn't think he had far to go to bring himself up to their speed. He reached out to pluck at one of her nipples, a quick and pointed touch before his hands were back working at the buttons of his shirt.

"Your allure, Miss Lewis, has me owing Stark an undisclosed favour in return for the ride home." God help them all when, in a world where SHIELD was scrambling to coordinate its assets, Tony Stark was a shining beacon of organisation and reliance.

Bucky, poor guy, seemed to be barely holding on as she rode him almost instinctively and watched Steve undress. Steve shucked his shoes and pants in a hurry, then dropped onto the bed and leaned forward to dart his tongue along the tiny slick patch Darcy was working onto Bucky's abdomen. He liked that, the neat taste of Darcy layered over Bucky's heated and sweat-damp skin.

Darcy ruffled his hair as he turned to drop a kiss to her bare thigh. "Ready?" he murmured against her skin. "We'll start slow..."

~*~

Darcy wasn't nervous... exactly... and she wasn't a blushing virgin either (ha!). She was simply overwhelmed. Turned on beyond anything she'd felt before, wound up in the two men who - despite all good reason - wanted her and, yeah, a little unnerved at the thought of being the filling in the middle of their heaving, muscular, genetically modified man sandwich.

Not that she wasn't totally down for it, because sweet Christ on a cracker she was and just as soon as she stopped wanting to make a hearty call for a round of high fives, she might want to stop to consider the potentially uncomfortable logistics. Steve wasn't a small guy, he ran true to scale and he'd just informed her that he'd very much like to fuck her arse (paraphrased). Though at that precise moment he was more intent on honing his wingman skills, she felt his fist bump against the curve of her bottom as he took Bucky in hand, stroking him as he hunched over and kissed a path up her thigh, over her hip and to her ribs, only stopping when he could lick a trail along the underside of her breast. It was almost amusing to watch six foot and change of American monument curl into her side, trying to seamlessly meld into the curves and empty places between Bucky and her, even as he tried to bring them closer. Almost amusing. Darcy was about eight hours past amused when it came to her need to feel Bucky inside of her.

She came up a little higher on her knees, felt Steve's fingers guiding Bucky's cock between her thighs. Steve's fingers flicked up briefly, slipping against her wet pussy. She felt his smile against her breast as he wrapped his hand once more around the base of Bucky's cock and shifted it until she felt the heated press of it against her. She gripped Steve's hair as she sank down, not stopping until she heard the soft rush of Russian from Bucky and felt his fingertips dig into her hips, stilling her.

"Need a minute, Doll," he moaned and she felt the tiny pumps of his hips, each one smaller than the last as he tried to calm himself. "I'd hate to rush the program."

With him inside of her, filling her and testing her limits, she would have been more than okay with rushing the program. Days of wanting him had left her frustrated and primed, but if Bucky could show a little restraint, then so could she. No matter how badly she wanted to ride him hard, claw his chest and drag them both to the point of no return.

It wasn't the worst view in the world, Bucky with his eyes clenched shut in concentration, Steve's dirty blonde head sliding down between her cleavage, over her stomach and... He parted her lips even wider with his fingers, his face so close to where Bucky was seated deep in her. He looked up to catch her eye and fucking winked before tracing his tongue from the root of Bucky's cock to her clit, he paused halfway, tongue straining as he tried to reach the taut stretch of skin where she and Bucky met. Steve took his time exploring and Darcy leaned back, hands braced against Bucky's hard thighs as she tried to spread her legs a little further. It was an awkward angle for all of them and Steve was off-target more than he was on it, but each wet flick of his tongue dragged a whimper from Darcy and a corresponding tensing in the thighs beneath her hands.

"Bu...James," she groaned as she tugged on Steve's hair to stop him, "Please. I-I need to move."

Bucky gave no indication that he'd heard anything other than his name, he seemed pleased by that too and Darcy added that to his growing list of turn-ons (somewhere between her breasts and Steve's come). Steve, luckily, was all forward momentum as he gave an authoritative nod and slipped from the bed to grab something from a bedside drawer. She didn't have time to miss him before he was moving behind her, nudging Bucky's legs wide as he settled on his knees, chest pressed to her back. For all that they'd done, he was coy when it came to the lube, he kept it concealed in his big fist and used his other hand to press her forward until her chest was flush with Bucky's.

"Move," he ordered softly and her hips obeyed. Darcy turned her mouth against Bucky's neck, greedily sucking at his skin as her hips rolled.

It occurred to her - perhaps a little late in the piece - that she couldn't hope to be in better hands for her introduction to what was happening. They'd never explicitly discussed it but Darcy knew by instinct that Bucky would have been the one to introduce Steve to their hot super-soldier sexytimes, so if anyone would have empathy for what was happening, it'd be Steve.

Bucky palmed her arse as she rocked, spreading her to Steve's gaze. The bed dipped behind them as Steve shifted, then she felt his soft, questioning, lube-slicked fingers petting against her. There was a pause, he dropped a kiss to her shoulder and then he was there, thick finger pressing against her as murmured soft encouraging words against her shoulder. Darcy might have fixated on what Steve was doing, had Bucky not chosen that moment to pump his hips up. She was jolted out of her nervous musings as she nipped at Bucky's sweat damp throat. He seemed determined to win back her attention.

"C'mon, Darce," he said as his hips bucked up against her, "You with us?"

She nodded, keeping her face tucked against his jaw as she felt Steve press another finger against her. It was overwhelming, she felt set alight as she faced them on dual fronts, trying to feel them everywhere that they touched her, but only feeling giddy and swamped by the sensations.

"Good girl," Steve pressed his face into her hair, his voice soft and encouraging, "You're doing so good, Honey. Just relax a little." From anyone else it might have sounded creepy, disingenuous even, from Steve it worked exactly as he planned. She calmed, focused on the solid walls of muscle that bracketed her, cosseted her. Two men striving to make her feel good... not a damn thing to get worked up about. She rocked against Bucky, felt how he filled her, how he touched on all the slick needy places within her.

Just as she was beginning to enjoy the new setup Steve's fingers pulled away and she felt a pointless moment of disappointment. Pointless, because he returned almost immediately, one hand stroking between her shoulders as his narrow hips pressed against the inside of her thighs, damp skin sticking and dragging as he took himself in hand and pressed his cock against her arse. Bucky stilled then, complicit in Steve's endeavour to ruin her for all other men, and held her hips as Steve surged forward, just an inch. She cried out, a mixture of alarm and... fuck, she didn't even know what she was feeling. Except that she wanted more... and less. And maybe to the left, but up a bit and if Bucky could just move his-

Steve's breath was warm on her shoulder as he pressed home hard and she could feel her pussy clench around Bucky in response. Hot tears welled in her eyes and it wasn't pain, but frustration, because she had them both where she needed them. Where she wanted them. But they weren't moving, just rocking gently and pretending to be sexual martyrs on the alter of her comfort.

Fuck that noise.

She wasn't made of porcelain and no matter how fucking preternatural they thought they were, if someone didn't come soon she was going to... make a whole bunch of idle threats and whimper some more.

It was untenable, really, being jammed between obscene quantities of slick muscle and so fucking full but still wanting the filthy sort of friction that they could so easily give her...

Darcy dug her toes into the sheets, found purchase and slammed her hips back. All three cried out together, Darcy was loudest and that fact started a whole lot of nonsensical (though the gist was apologetic) muttering from Steve. She reached back and blindly groped for Steve, her fingertips finding and dragging across his shoulder as she tried to spur him on. Tried to entice him into motion.

It was Bucky that came to her rescue, neck straining as he arched up to kiss her again then whispered, "I know what you need, Doll."

And he wasn't lying. He moved, set a slow pace that Steve was quick to echo as he played mark and space with Bucky. There was a fleeting thought as to how they would feel to each other, if they could feel each other at all while they both filled her. It seemed impossible to Darcy that they couldn't, not when all that she could feel was them.

"Buck..." Steve's voice was broken as he reached out to spear his fingers in Bucky's hair and that contact was what set their erotic (literal) clusterfuck into a tailspin. Their rhythms devolved into the basest sort of fucking, each of the three of them trying to arch and search and speed up until they hit the right spots, found the right places. None of them in sync but all in perfect harmony.

Her climax was unheralded, covert and more than enough to rob her of all good sense, Darcy came on a sob and it was a fucking gift, both intense enough to make her lightheaded and surprising. In their pile of discordant fucking and raw need, she hadn't anticipated that for herself. Not really. There was too much going on, a sort of sensory overload. Sure, she never had any doubt that she'd get hers, it was just that she'd expected it to be a loose end tied up in the aftermath.

Steve and Bucky came in quick succession as she gave herself over to them, weak limbs failing as she dropped messy open mouthed half-bite, half-kisses onto Bucky's chest. Release and relief swamped them, as if they'd all been holding out for the others to find their pleasure.

She was a mess, sweat stinging her eyes and come trickling down her thigh as she shuffled and fidgeted until both men withdrew, leaving her to finally exhale before she passed out.

Somewhere, mothers were telling their daughters about women like her, reducing her to a tawdry cautionary tale.

Too bad, she felt perfect.

Steve flopped down beside Bucky and Darcy tipped into the scant inch of space they were willing to allow her. There was an awkward moment as she tried to position herself in a way that didn't plaster her skin to theirs, but that clearly wasn't happening, so she simply flopped onto her front, jammed a knee down between them, turned her other knee out over Bucky's hips and draping her chest and face across Steve's torso. He wrapped an arm around her and pressed a chaste kiss to her temple. Bucky entertained himself as he dragged two fingers over her spread, dripping cunt, pressing his own come back into her, then tracing the remnants over the soft skin of her inner thighs leaving sticky wonderful patterns as he went.

Climaxes, Darcy was all too aware, weren't exactly a panacea for all, but they were an amazing place to start.

Silence settled over them (okay, fine, she was a little breathless still) but it wasn't awkward, it was more of an expectant silence. Darcy wasn't sure what was left to be said, maybe they were waiting on scores? Tens all round, but she'd drop Bucky to a nine if he didn't move his hand soon because she was feeling a little tender.

She wasn't digging the quiet, it wasn't a natural state for her and she could feel all sorts of verbal gems forming in her mind. It seemed wiser to scramble over Steve while muttering something about grabbing some water than to let loose the barrage of chatter welling in her throat.

~*~

Fortune favoured the bold and Steve could only be thankful that his bravado had held out long enough for him to see through all the whispered, wicked promises he'd made to Bucky and Darcy. It might have been nice if Darcy hadn't made such a hasty retreat, but he wasn't too proud to chase her down. He sat up and swung his feet around to the floor, palming his spent cock as he moved. Warm metal slipped over the curve of his spine, stilling him.

"I ought to see if she's-"

"She's fine."

"Darcy's got a habit of leaving..."

"She's done with that," Bucky assured him as he tugged him back down against his side.

~*~

Coffee, Darcy knew from past experience, was always a good place to start and when she finally settled down on the front stoop (attired in pilfered boxers and Henley) with a cup of coffee she felt decidedly calmer. The boys' high-end neighbourhood was in full swing as kids in private school uniforms were wrangled by stunningly coiffured and made-up women wearing enough Lululemon Athletica swag to deplete an entire month's worth of tips at the club. Adorably fey young women rode replica vintage bicycles tricked out with baskets laden with baked goods and fresh flowers.

Fucking nauseating, really.

But it was comforting to watch some normal daily routines play out. It wasn't like her world had ended or anything, she'd suffered a few knocks the day before and now karma had done her a solid. No, really. Even thinking about the men she'd left lying in bed upstairs had her pressing her knees together and curling her toes.

Would it work? She was a realist. Aliens, psychopaths and neo-Nazi organisations had a way of laying waste to any girl's dream boards. Still, she had the time and more than a little inclination to stick it out. They could keep their masked mayhem, hurtle themselves toward a wall of foes. They saved the world for a living, she could save a few nights each week to see where things went.

Darcy tugged the sleeves of her shirt down over her fingers as she cradled her coffee, it was a little cold to be out in the stoop and fitted Henleys weren't meant to be worn without bras in cool climates, but the sun was slanting across her legs and she felt good.

Her phone had enough juice left for her to check her messages. One from Jane: I can't find my laptop. Also, are you there? With both of them? Pics or it didn't happen... and another from the club, suggesting that her being fired might have been a little premature. For the first, she provided detailed instructions regarding the location of her laptop, she might also have suggested a little mutual exchange of beefcake images, but negotiations were ongoing. She deleted the second message, it was time for a change. Time to reserve public displays of nudity for Christmas parties and hen's nights. Not that she'd be telling Bucky any time soon, dude had got her arse fired. She intended to let him stew for a while longer.

Behind her the front door opened, Steve jogged down the steps to join her. He took in the morning bustle and the morning bustle paused to cast appreciative gazes toward him. He frowned as a tall olive-skinned jogger slowed to smile at them, Darcy wanted to applaud the guy's taste but Steve wasn't reading the situation the same way, he just unzipped his hoodie and passed it to her.

"You're going to cause a pile up," he said with a vague, red-faced nod toward her chest.

Darcy slipped into the warm hoodie, it was new enough that it still had that butter soft feeling inside and it smelled of... Bucky, actually. It smelled of gun oil and lemon and she grinned a little as she pulled the hood up over her bed hair. "One of my many talents," she said with a lazy grin as she got to her feet and held her hand out to help Steve up (he was old, after all).

"Do your other talents include cooking breakfast?" Steve asked with such blatant hopefulness that she had to snort.

"Not unless you stock Pop Tarts."

He screwed up his nose. Cap wasn't one for highly refined sugar. "We should probably wake Bucky." Steve said as the slung an arm around her shoulders and guided her back into the building. "He cooks."

"Might be a hard sell, he seemed pretty spent when I left."

"I'm sure," Steve began as he kicked the front door shut behind them and let his hand drift down to her bottom, "that we can come up with a compelling reason for him to get out of bed."